The beauty of the Grotelse Heide nature reserve
Would you like to take a walk through a beautiful piece of nature? Then the Grotelse Heide nature reserve will surprise you. The area is incredibly varied with its forests, heather and many species of animals. Don’t forget your camera because different water scenes will require the necessary snapshots. A moment of rest has also been thought of, for a drink and snack you can go to an attractive inn.
The Grotels forest
The Grotels forest is a beautiful piece of nature reserve that is located in the area, Bakel, Aarle-Rixtel, De Mortel. The nature reserve is about 121 ha. The Grotels forest is varied and attractive to nature lovers. In autumn you will find many types of mushrooms and various types of migratory birds. There is a dry deciduous forest with birch and summer oak trees, but also a wet deciduous forest with black alder and ash. Enjoy the heather, the coniferous forest and even a white willow here and there. A herd of semi-wild cattle (Aberdeen Angus), Scottish Highlanders and sheep graze on the Grotelse heide, which can sometimes be approached very close. In the middle of this natural beauty flows a beautiful river, the Esperloop.
The Esperloop is an 8 km long river that flows gently through the Grotels forest from the Snelle loop. It is one of the rare examples of a more or less intact ‘heather brook’. By following the narrow stream you will be taken along a route through the beautiful Grotels forest. The Esperloop flows back into the Snelle loop near the hamlet of Grotel, south of De Mortel. Part of the water in this stream comes from the zone along the Peelrand Fault. The Peel Edge Fault is a deep geological fault line, where water wells up from deep underground. As a result, the water contains a lot of iron, but is very clean. It is also beautiful that on the banks of the Esperloop there are brook valley plants, marsh flowers and black sedge, which are extremely rare in this area. This is said to be likely due to phosphate fixation, which is caused by the high iron content. Because investments have been made in nature and landscape, through the nature-friendly redesign of the Esperloop and the Snelle loop, special animal species have also returned, such as the dragonfly.
The Fast Loop is not a natural stream, but a dug watercourse. In 2005 the Snelle loop was redesigned to give it a natural look. Small waterfalls, flowing over stone steps, adorn the course and stimulate your senses. The Snel Loop forms the municipal boundary between the municipalities of Laarbeek and Gemert-Bakel. More to the east, it formed the border between the former municipalities of Bakel, Milheeze and Gemert for a few kilometers.
The Root of the Mortar
This media tower, which is used for radio broadcasts, is highly recommended for special nature lovers. This 127.7 meter high tower has been inhabited since 2005 by special birds of prey: peregrine falcons. These use the tower as a breeding ground. For many years, webcams have ensured that these birds are followed nationwide and even worldwide. There are several beautiful places where the peregrine falcons can be spotted. Don’t forget your camera with zoom function!
South of the Grotels forest is the Aarlese fishing pond. In 2017, the owner of the Grotels forest is developing a recreational gate near the fishing pond. When you visit this area in the spring of 2017, you will see that the plans are already in full swing. A trout pond, also for paddling in, is under construction. A curling range and an ATB track will have to initiate recreation. And of course this also includes a pavilion for a snack.
There are of course many walking routes that run through this beautiful nature reserve. Available at VVV de Peel (Gemert-Bakel). Favorites are:
The circular walk Ommetje Esperloop (12 km)
This beautiful walk takes you through the hamlets Grotel, Geneneind and Nuijeneind. The tour runs through the Grotelse Heide nature reserve, an area that consists of alternation of woods, heaths and grasslands. you follow the stream the Esperloop. Part of the tour goes through an agricultural landscape. In Bakel it is time for some history and you can view the post mill Sint Willibrordus from 1752. 82% of this hike is unpaved.
Ommetje Hoogen Aarle (14km)
The tour starts in the town of De Mortel and heads towards the Nederheide forest area, a varied forest area. However, the walk quickly changes towards the Grotelse Heide. This walk is very varied, which makes it an attractive walking area. The Esperloop is also followed during this walk. 82% of this hike is unpaved.
GPS circular walk Grotelse Heide (7 km)
GPS walks are all the rage these days. Especially if you walk a lot, you may have already discovered the advantages of a GPS device. You will no longer get lost on a walk, which makes walking in a forest or the great outdoors a real pleasure. There are also GPS walking routes around Bakel that can be viewed and downloaded to your GPS device.
Just a moment of rest
Of course, a long walk also includes a moment of rest, just enjoying all the beauty you have just seen. In the middle of the natural beauty there is an Inn, where adults, children and animals have been thought of.
Inn Grotel’s Hof
Herberg Grotel’s Hof is located on Bakel’s territory. In the middle of the surrounding villages of Aarle-Rixtel, Beek en Donk, De Mortel and Gemert. Many activities start from the inn. The Grotelse Heide nature reserve is right on the doorstep of the inn. Here you can enjoy the well-maintained terrace, there is a small playground and water for the dogs. You can also come in here during cold winter days to warm up with a warm drink and a snack.
Stay a few nights?
Indeed, it is a very beautiful area, where it is certainly wonderful to stay for several days. A stay in the nature reserve is possible at various locations.
Bed and Breakfasts
Wonderful for a relaxing stay in the middle of nature with rural tranquility. You will be staying within walking distance of the historic clock village of Aarle-Rixtel, and by car you can reach the city life of Helmond within 10 minutes.
Bed & Breakfast De Tomaat
Bed & Breakfast De Tomaat is named after the adjacent tomato nursery and is located exactly on the border of Aarle-Rixtel and Beek en Donk. There are many walking and cycling routes in the beautiful surroundings. With an overnight stay in this B&B you can take a tour of the greenhouses. Afterwards you can taste the tomato variety Tasty Tom for yourself!
Presbytery de Mortel
Staying in a monumental rectory from 1886, in the municipality of Gemert-Bakel. If you like to stay in nature and appreciate peace and space, a stay in this beautiful rectory is a great option for a short or longer stay. The presbytery has a park garden that exudes an atmosphere of tranquility. Service, personal attention and hospitality are of paramount importance here.
Eco-Touristfarm de Biezen
The original environment and the valuable cultural-historical natural landscape are respected at this campsite. The company is run in an ecological way and you will find a great biodiversity of trees, plants and shrubs. You are among the birds, insects, bees, bumblebees, amphibians, butterflies and small and large mammals.
Aldörrum Mini Camping
This attractive campsite is located in a quiet area, in the middle of the nature reserve. Here you will find peace after a day of hiking or cycling. Charging points for your bicycle, beautiful sanitary facilities and a cozy room with various seats, a reading table and a wood stove have been thought of.
Camping Grotelse Heide
Grotelse Heide camp site, in the middle of the equally named nature reserve, is a great place to stay with and without children. The campsite has an outdoor swimming pool and a petting zoo. Herberg Grotel’s Hof is located right in front of the campsite for a nice snack or drink.
Inn the Brabant Vault
A very big recommendation! In the shadow of the stately Holy Blood Mission Monastery, which is still inhabited by many sisters, lies Herberg de Brabantse Kluis. This was once the old residence of the monastery farm. Now it has been converted into an attractive inn with hotel. Wake up while listening to the sound of the dairy cows and enjoy all the beauty that this area has to offer.
For more information, sights and cycling and walking routes, you can visit the VVV de peel in Gemert.
Tourist office Gemert-Bakel
5421 CX Gemert