Exploration of nature: The "Broeken"

Between Haringe and Diksmuide, along the banks of the IJzer, there are extensive meadows, called “IJzerbroeken”. Those low grass- and haylands form one of Flanders most open and striking spaces. During centuries, those low and swampy meadows were used by the farmer on a nearly natural way. The high water level allowed only short periods for grazing and one hay making by year. The “IJzerbroeken” form therefore an immense nature reserve with an enormous richness of water birds and flowery meadows. This more than 4.000 hectares big grassland belongs to the most wet polders and forms, by abundant rainfall or sudden thaw, the natural winter-bed of the IJzer. By high tide, thousands of hectares can overflow. That is why there are almost no houses in this area. In the valley of the IJzer, farms were build on places that could not overflow or also on an artifical elevation. During a walk you can get acquainted with the reed-bunting, the reed-bird, the lapwing, the snipe, the gold-plover and large groups of gooses and ducks. Notice the plantation: yellow iris and duck-weed on the surface of the water in spring. Notice also the meadows pegged out with hedges of hawthorn, wild rose-trees or wild plum-trees.