Off the beaten track

If you fancy walking somewhere that isn’t through the woods or a park, try a Klompenpad (clog trail). It will take you along rough paths and straight across farmland. Great fun!

By Floor Tinga, in association with Landschap Erfgoed Utrecht

The first Klompenpad was marked out almost ten years ago. Originally a one-off initiative, these trails have since developed into a successful brand. There are now over 130 trails in the Provinces of Utrecht and Gelderland. Our province has 35 trails. Some people only really discovered how pretty the Netherlands is during the lockdowns, when the Klompenpaden were busier than ever. So what’s so different about a Klompenpad? Most of the trails follow rough paths, through farmland and along historic routes. In other words, off the beaten track. But it’s the combination of nature and heritage that makes these trails so special. One of the nicest local Klompenpaden is the Slagmaatpad. It’s on the outskirts of Bunnik and Houten, to the east of Utrecht. The starting point (TOP Fort bij Vechten) is easy to reach by public transport.

What will you see along the route?

Compost heaps

You can recognise a grass snake from the yellow and black markings on the back of its head. These snakes are harmless. They mainly eat frogs and small mammals, such as mice. Compost heaps have been created for the snakes to lay their eggs.

Anti-tank trench

In 1939, an anti-tank trench was dug in this area, as part of the New Dutch Waterline. The reason for its name is fairly obvious: it was designed to keep out tanks. These days, the Mastwetering (as it is now known) is a haven of peace and quiet.

Fruit orchards

The Kromme Rijn region is traditionally a fruit-growing area. You’ll find numerous orchards with cherry, apple and pear trees. The Romans first introduced us to apples and pears during their military campaigns. Even Charlemagne ordered fruit orchards to be planted in his imperial gardens.

Local produce

The route takes you past the Nieuw Slagmaat Farm. This is a great place to stop for a cup of tea, coffee or fruit juice on the terrace. The farm shop sells local produce such as fruit juice, cheese, meat and jam, and you can pick your own fruit.

Fort bij Vechten

This fort, which is part of the New Dutch Waterline, was built between 1867 and 1870. Water was used as a weapon to protect the Netherlands in wartime. Locks, dykes and canals were built to create difficult terrain for the enemy.

Fectio Castle

A fort was built in this region some 2,000 years ago: the Roman Fectio Castle. The Romans built their castle here on the banks of the River Rijn and it drew people from all across Europe. The contours that have since been reconstructed in the landscape measure 100 x 120 metres.


Nieuw Wulven is a newly designed nature reserve, where you will often see deer. There are also seventy different species of birds, including bluethroats and grasshopper warblers. But if you see a bright blue flash skimming over the water, you’ve probably seen a kingfisher!

Face to face with a Blaarkop

Blaarkop cows are an ancient breed of cattle that were documented as early as the late Middle Ages. They originate from the Kromme Rijn region. These cattle are very inquisitive, so don’t run away or they’ll chase after you!

KIDS version

KIDS Klompenpaden have been devised especially for children. They feature lots of things to do along the route. The Slagmaatpad has a KIDS version, with playground equipment, such as climbing racks and swings. There’s also a pull-along raft taking you across the water. Go to klompenpaden.nl or download the Klompenpaden app for more information.


Where? The Slagmaatpad trail starts at TOP Fort bij Vechten, opposite the carpark at Achterdijk 21 in Bunnik. You can also join the trail from the Binnenweg carpark in Houten.
How long? The trail is 7 kilometres long, but you can shorten it to 2 or 5 kilometres.
Marking: Follow the orange clomp-shaped signs. The trail is marked out in two directions, so you can walk it clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Tip: Wear solid shoes or hiking boots.
N.B: No dogs.
More info: klompenpaden.nl/slagmaatpad

The Klompenpaden are an initiative of Landschap Erfgoed Utrecht. The trails are maintained by an enthusiastic group of volunteers.

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