Sallandse Heuvelrug
© Ellen van den Doel via Sallandse Heuvelrug
Category:Explore the Dutch national parks

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park is one of the largest contiguous dry heath areas in Western Europe. This beautiful nature reserve in the province of Overijssel is a dynamic nature reserve with a diverse population of animals and plants. The Sallandse Heuvelrug is a moraine that was created during the penultimate ice age. This moraine has been a National Park since 2004 and feels almost out of place in the Netherlands due to the height differences. Walk through the woods or cycle along the heathland – Sallandse Heuvelrug offers all kinds of outdoor leisure activities. 

  • Discover the characteristic landscape of the National Park.
  • Explore the area on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback.
  • Escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

A dynamic habitat 

Viewpoint Archemerberg National Park Sallandse Heuvelrug & Twents Reggedal

In Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park, the flora and fauna are diverse and strongly influenced by the varied landscape of the area. For example, the heathlands are home to heather, a characteristic plant in these parts. In the summer it blooms with beautiful purple flowers. In addition to these plants, you will also find Erica heather in this area, which often produces small pink flowers and feels at home in the wetter parts of the park. The forests of Sallandse Heuvelrug consist mainly of birch and oak. Birches are fast-growing trees that thrive in dry, sandy soil. The oaks provide shade and are important habitats for various animal species. Sundew, a carnivorous plant that catches insects with its sticky tentacles, often grows in the wet part of the park.

The fauna of Sallandse Heuvelrug is just as varied as its flora and includes a range of animals that live in various areas of the park. For example, more than 75 species of birds breed here. The rarest of these are the stonechat, raven, nightjar and black grouse. As the only place in the Netherlands where these birds can still be found, the park is famous for its grouse. The heathlands and open grasslands provide ideal habitats for these beautiful birds. Other animals that can be observed in the park are deer, vipers, pine martens, slow worms, buzzards, newts, various types of butterflies and much more.


Mountain biking over the Sallandse Heuvelrug Overijssel

With its many marked routes, Sallandse Heuvelrug is a popular destination for hikers and cyclists. There are several marked trails that guide you to the most beautiful spots the park has to offer. Hikers can enjoy several trails that vary in length and difficulty, meandering through the heathlands, forests and over the rolling hills, giving you the opportunity to experience the diversity of the park up close. Remember to bring sturdy walking shoes and suitable clothing as some trails and terrains may be challenging. There are also several cycling routes available for cyclists, varying from gentle rides to more challenging mountain bike routes. The park has dedicated cycle paths and routes that take you through the beautiful countryside, or you can explore the area using the nearby cycle hubs.

Sallandse Heuvelrug also hosts a wide range of nature-based activities. Located at the foot of the Holterberg, the Holterberg Nature Museum is a good place to learn more about the area's animals and plants. The museum offers exhibitions and activities for young and old. You will find information centres at the entrances to the park where you can learn more about the history, nature and activities on offer in the area.

Unique destination for nature lovers 

Walking on the purple heath Sallandse Heuvelrug

There’s no doubt that Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park is a stunning area with a diverse flora and fauna, offering vast heathlands, forests and rolling hills. Heather and Erica heather adorn the flowering heathlands in summer, while birch and oak dominate the forests. The park is home to all kinds of fauna, including rare grouse, roe deer, vipers and pine martens. And if you look up, you will see buzzards and nightjars soaring in the sky. Visitors can enjoy hiking and cycling trails, the breathtaking view from the Holterberg and the educational Holterberg Nature Museum. The focus is on protection of biodiversity and the preservation of this unique ecosystem, making the park a valuable destination for true nature lovers.

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