'Maasheggen deserves more prominent place in hiking country'

Jessica and Barry van Boekel

Three to four times a week they go out. Taking lovely walks through natural surroundings. To unwind and enjoy.
At least one of Barry and Jessica van Boekel's weekly walks goes through their own backyard, the Maasheggengebied. "The Maasheggen is a beautiful area. It 'lives' and manages to surprise us every time. The Maasheggen deserves a much more prominent place in hiking country."

The Boxmeer couple hikes through De Maasheggen every week. "Sometimes a short walk in the evening hours, other times a brisk hike on a Saturday or Sunday throughout the area. Because we are also board members of the Wandelvierdaagse Boxmeer and our routes go through the Maasheggengebied, we completely check the routes every year to make sure the routes are still correct."
What Barry and Jessica like best is the route from the former concrete plant to the Veerhuis in Oeffelt. "Especially when the hawthorn starts blooming and the horses are in the pasture, we can really enjoy that. So beautiful! In the evening we often walk along the dike from Boxmeer towards Oeffelt. You then have a beautiful vista over The Maasheggen."

Dutch Hikers

Barry and Jessica are avid hikers. "We both have our physical limitations, which makes it difficult for us to participate in team sports. In hiking we have found our weekly sport, which we can intensely enjoy together."

The Boxmen do not limit their hikes to The Maasheggen, but also regularly go out in other environments. At home and abroad. For example, they have done a four-day walk in Spain and recently completed the Mullerthal Trail in Luxembourg.
They take pictures of each hike, which they share via their Instragram account @dutch_hikers. "We started this when family members wanted to follow us in our preparation for and during the Nijmegen Four-Day Walk. At the time, we were still forwarding all the photos via Whatsapp, but at a certain point that just wasn't doable anymore. We were more busy forwarding pictures than enjoying our walks. Our son then pointed us to Instagram. Facebook was more for older people, he thought... That's how we started our Instagram account. What we share are mainly photos of the hikes we take - especially the longer ones. They are mainly photos of the surroundings and nature that we encounter along the way."

Full of praise for Maasheggen

In a short time, Dutch_hikers has grown into a much-viewed (over 750 followers) and, above all, highly appreciated account. "Not only do we get more likes and followers, but we are also regularly approached with questions about interesting hiking environments. Of course, we then also bring up the Maasheggengebied. We often hear back that they have heard of it, but don't know it yet. We then heartily recommend a visit to our region. The hikers who have been here are, without exception, full of praise. They find it a beautiful area and especially that they can walk so close to the Meuse along sometimes ancient hedges, they find very special."

Promote more actively

The Maasheggen could be more actively promoted as an attractive hiking area, Barry and Jessica feel. "If you search on hiking sites, a hike through and in the Maasheggengebied can hardly be found. You really have to go to the site of the Maasheggen or the Land van Cuijk. However, if you are unfamiliar here, then you don't know where to look. It would therefore be good if we were to bring much wider attention to the hiking possibilities in the Maasheggen. Think of entries on the well-known walking sites such as www.wandel.nl, www.ectiv.nlen www.wandelnet.nl, but also a compact booklet with walking routes in the Maasheggen would be a good idea. For example, combined with information on the main attractions, catering and accommodation in the area. Furthermore, flyers could be created, which could then not only be distributed at local businesses but also given to participants in major hiking events in the area. It would be nice if this made the Maasheggen more noticeable to hikers. In any case, we are proud of it!"

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