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Imagine a sunny Sunday afternoon. You are enjoying a cup of coffee in a heathland village. While you feel the sun burning on your face, you hear children strolling through a bare-foot path and horseback riders galloping through the woods. Does that sound like music to your ears? Then you should visit the Strabrechtse Heide, according to Erik Schram, forester at Staatsbosbeheer. 'Thanks to the Regio Deal, we have really given the starting point of the moor (Natuurpoort De Plaetse) an upgrade.'
The area between Someren and Heeze is the largest contiguous heathland area in North Brabant. Erik Schram himself walks around it almost every day, just as he does now. That he would later become a forester, he knew at a young age. While walking, he recounts: "I used to spot deer with my father. In nature, I feel as free as a bird" he jokes.
The nature reserve is enormously popular. Especially since the corona period, Erik says. 'The road to the heath village - and thus the starting point of the walking route - was always full of cars. Nice that many people in the region know how to find this place, but the amount of cars caused problems. By this he is referring to the accessibility of the area, for example for emergency services. It was time for a parking lot, he thought.
'A real starting point, that's what this place deserves.' Inquiries were made with the Forestry Commission and Brainport Development. 'Thanks to the Regio Deal, money was available to build a large parking lot of grass tiles. This allows water to flow away easily and allows plants and herbs to just keep growing. So we really gave the starting point of the heathland an upgrade thanks to the Regio Deal.
What makes this place so special according to Erik? 'You can bike, hike and go horseback riding here. But also visit the insect and vegetable garden and the heath café. There is even an area where children can build huts. They make full use of that, too.' Meanwhile, there is also hard work going on. Not only by the Forestry Commission team. 'Professionals and clients from epilepsy expertise center Kempenhaege are active here almost every day. They plant flowers, herbs and vegetables and really enjoy themselves here. Just like me.
'It remains a special place to work.'