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The Molsbroek nature reserve in Lokeren

Molsbroek nature reserve Lokeren

The Molsbroek nature reserve is an attractive and interesting place to visit for a short 5 km walk or a longer 8 km one.

The Molsbroek nature reserve in Lokeren in the province of East Flanders consists of 120 hectares of marshland, grassland, reedbeds and river dunes. If your first thought is “wet feet”, don’t worry. An asphalt trail has been helpfully laid around and through the reserve to keep your feet dry. The visitor centre on the east side provides comprehensive information about the place, its history and ecology, and how it’s been used and changed through the years by locals. If you are a keen birdwatcher you could spend a couple of hours here. Recent observations include teal, shoveler, greylag geese, kingfisher, spoonbill, snipe, great egret, firecrest and little owl.

On the dike you will find eight information boards, three free-to-use fixed binoculars, a 24/7 information point, a viewing box with stereo slides, an insect garden with a barefoot path and, in winter, a viewing wall at the winter feeding place. All this makes the Molsbroek an outstanding place for children to visit. One word of warning: at weekends, especially during pleasant weather, the walking route can get somewhat crowded.

Discovering Belgium’s Roving Photographer Herman Vandecauter visited the Molsbroek nature reserve recently and shared his photographs.

A short 4.7 km walk

This walk starts on the nature reserve itself at the visitor centre on Molsbergenstraat, Lokeren. Below is the map which you can download as a PDF. The GPX track is on RouteYou.

A longer 8.7 km walk

An alternative, longer walk starts from the Markt in Lokeren. This allows you to walk along the northern bank of the Bovendurme. For users of public transport, this is probably the easier of the two walks to access as there’s a bus stop at Lokeren Markt. By train, Lokeren station is just 200 meters away from the Markt, to the north-east (you can see it on the map below, just below “Groendreef). As always, you can download the map below as a PDF and/or get the GPX track from my RouteYou page.

Why not spend some time in Lokeren?

Another possibility is to spend the morning in Lokeren and then walk around the Molsbroek in the afternoon. Unfortunately some of these places will not be fully open or accessible at the moment due to COVID restrictions, but it might be worth bookmarking for a future visit.

The Saint Laurentius Church is proud of its tower, also known as “the pepper box”. The church dates from 1719-1725 and has a collection of beautiful stained glass windows and church furniture. Noteworthy is the beautiful rococo pulpit with the motif “Jesus in the midst of the teachers in the Temple” by the Mechelen sculptor Theodoor Verhagen, completed in 1736.

The Lokeren Town Museum tells the history of the city with objects, films, photos and stories. The focus is on work and leisure life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Until the 1970s Lokeren was an important source of rabbit and hare fur that was pressed into felt for the hat-making industry. The museum describes the resulting pollution and soil contamination that was a consequence of this enterprise. Lokeren also housed a number of slaughterhouses, and you can discover the town’s links to meat production at a Butchers Museum in the same building. Also inside is a historic bakery and a treasury.

The town museum behind the three hares on the Markt.

If you like visiting windmills, you’ll want to visit the Heirbrug Mill. It is the only remaining example of the 47 working mills that once stood in Lokeren and the surrounding area. The current stone form dates back to 1837. After being left in a poor state, in 2002 it became operational once more after being completely renovated.

Photo (C)

I hope you enjoy your visit to Molsbroek and Lokeren. Any questions, just add a comment below, drop me a line or text me via WhatsApp:

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16 thoughts on “The Molsbroek nature reserve in Lokeren”

    1. Bit of an excursion for you to get there, particularly on the train. But apparently the trains are running more punctual this year (due to 40% fewer passengers!).

  1. Oh, Denzil! Now this post brought back memories! Lokeren is where I used to go to primary, middle, and high school, live, and teach. I took my sixth-grade students to ‘t Molsbroek nature reserve every year. I still like that town a lot, have many friends there, and try to visit every time I return to Belgium. I’m so happy you shared this post!

    1. Oh that’s amazing Liesbet. Definitely a trip down Memory Lane for you then. For some reason I always thought you were from Limburg, not Oost Vlaanderen.

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