About the area
The hiking region of Kessenich and the ‘Drie Eigen’ consists of a very diverse landscape that was created by the river Meuse and man. Nature reserve ‘Vijverbroek’ is centrally located in ‘Drie Eigen’ (Kessenich, Thorn and Ittervoort). ‘Koningsteen-Kollegreend’ forms the link between Thorn and Kessenich.
The nature reserve ‘Vijverbroek’ in Kessenich, for example, is located in an old Meuse meander and is managed by Natuurpunt vzw. Centuries of relocations of the Meuse have meant that the Meuse arm is beyond the control of today’s Meuse and is slowly silting up. The lower parts of the Meuse arm feature alder woodland and willow thickets with a very high ecological value. The undergrowth is rich in species, with many different types of sedge, marsh fern, marsh marigold and yellow flag. The area is also important for birds, given that endangered species, such as the bluethroat, nightingale, honey buzzard, Eurasian hobby, hawk, oriole and grasshopper warbler still occur. And dragonflies also appreciate the wet area with its many pools, of course.
The hiking region of Kessenich is also largely determined by the nature reserves of ‘Koningssteen’ and ‘Kollegreend’. ‘Koningssteen’ is located right on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. It is one of the oldest nature development areas in the RivierPark Maasvallei. Since 1996, the management has been shared by ‘Natuurmonumenten’ (Nl) and ‘Limburg's Landschap vzw’ (B). The Konik horses that graze there are from Limburg's Landschap vzw, the Galloways are from Natuurmonumenten. At the moment, it is without a doubt one of the most valuable nature reserves in the RivierPark Maasvallei. The grebe, cuckoo, tree warbler, common warbler, oriole and a whole series of other birds have found a suitable breeding ground here. There is no shortage of butterflies either; some 31 different species have been spotted. This is also the only location along the border where the small heath occurs.
In 1980, gravel was extracted from ‘Kollegreend’ nature reserve and refilled. Now, it accommodates a wealth of special plants and animals, each of which has found their home in the varied landscape. For example, floodplain forests with dense vegetation are highly appreciated by nightingales, among others. The Galloway cattle of Limburg's Landschap vzw help to determine the mosaic pattern of flowery grasslands and thickets. Keep sufficient distance from the grazers, as they appreciate being left alone.
In the hiking region of Kessenich and the ‘Drie Eigen’, no fewer than six hiking loops allow you to discover the most beautiful places in this part of Belgium and the Netherlands. If you like marshland, then go for the green (5.9 km) or blue (7 km) walking loop. The green loop is mainly situated in and around the ‘Vijverbroek’. Via the blue loop, you can walk to Neeritter. On the way, you pass Borgitter castle, a beautiful monument in the RivierPark Maasvallei.
The orange (6.5 km) and red (11 km) hiking trails offer plenty of opportunity for strolling. This last loop, which brings you, along the ‘Einde van België’ (far end of Belgium), close to the Meuse, is particularly wet.
Very special in this hiking area is also the purple hiking loop (10 km), which takes you to Ophoven and from there, you can take the boat 'de Paep van Meinecom' via the Meuse lakes to Thorn. From Thorn, you can return to Kessenich. Important: before you leave, check the exact sailing times on the website www.marec.be.
The practical hiking switches allow you to combine different hiking loops in the area without any problems. That's how you put together your own ideal hiking trail. The routes with all the information can be found on the hiking map ‘Kessenich en de Drie Eigen’.
Accessibility and car parks
Car Park 3 Old Customs office: Venlosesteenweg 403, 3640 Kessenich (Kinrooi).
Additional pickup place
Car Park 1 Steegputstraat: Steegputstraat, 6017 AV Thorn (NL)
Car Park 2 Kerk Neeritter; Krekelbergplein, 6015 RA Neeritter (NL)