Upper Mark River: Meerle - Breda (NL) (20 km)
from André Maes
At Breda the Mark is joined by the Aa. During the 19th century as a flood control measure the river was canalized through and near the city. In 1996 the river in Belgium was straightened and provided with low dams. At the same time a bicycle path was constructed along the river. In recent years fish ladders have been installed, to assist the return of migrating fish. North of the border, the emphasis is now on returning the river to something like its original condition, with curves and wetlands being recreated.
The Mark can be reached from Meer, a village north of Hoogstraten (E19 A1 exit 1 Meer). Several marked cycling routes follow the Mark path from Meer or nearby, including LF 9. Others include markers for the newish Antwerps Kempen network and the connecting Nederlands Baronie network. The junctions are, from south to north, 13 - 14 - 43 - 41 - 36.
The entire route from Meer to Breda is about 20 km. You cycle sometimes on the right bank, sometimes on the left, crossing as indicated by bridges or dams. The whole route is car-free. There are picnic benchs at various places.
SIGHTS ALONG THE WAY
In Meersel-Dreef is one of Belgium's Grottos of Lourdes. Further along in Kapeldreef is the 15the centery Saint Lucia chapel. Her speciality is eye problems.
As you approach Breda the large forest to the left (west) is the Mastbos. It is one of the oldest forests in the Netherlands, dating from the 16th century. "Mast" is the Brabant word for pine; "bos" is woods.
Last update 12 October 2005
Copyright Dan Gamber, 1998 - 2006
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