Ballastplaat woodland

On the eastern side of Lauwersmeer, to the south of the Nieuwe Robbengat, is the woodland known as Ballastplaat. After the closure of the Lauwers Sea this woodland was planted on what had been the sea bed.

Everywhere, in and on the ground, you will find seashells that betray its salty past. The wood was planted mainly with poplar, ash, willow and alder but a number of trees and bushes establised themselves spontaneously, such as hawthorn, honeysuckle and sea buckthorn. Woodland birds have a great time here. Birds of prey, for instance, such as buzzard and goshawk nest here and every spring the 'weela-wee-ooo' of the golden oriole rings through the trees. You can find interesting plants in a number of clearings in the wood, such as orchids, yellow wort, seaside centaury and parnassus grass (bog myrtle).

Natural woodland

Forestry management here aims at creating a more natural woodland. The water defences have been pierced so the the trees get their feet wet in the autumn and winter. This will cause some of them to disappear, but the places they leave empty will be re-occupied by trees that belong naturally in this type of woodland.

Two routes for walkers

The blue route (Observatietorenroute, 5 km) takes you past an observation tower. From here you get wonderful views out over Lauwersmeer and the shallows of Achter de Zwarten. Don't forget your binoculars!
The green route (Konijnenroute, 3 km), in the southeastern part of the wood, takes you past the sand martins' bank.