Forest De Dennen is a great place to walk, cycle and exercise. In the summer, the woods are lovely and cool; in bad weather, they offer protection from the elements. But Dennenbos hasn’t always been here.
These Texel woods were planted. In the past, there were hardly any trees on the island. For wood, people mostly relied on wood that had been washed ashore. That is why it was common practice to make the frames of farmhouses out of the masts of ships that had sunk off the Texel coast.
At the end of the 19th century, a few progressive Texel people wanted to make good use of the rugged dunes. Pine trees were planted in neat rows in the dunes between De Koog and Den Hoorn for the production of wood. Many of Texel’s inhabitants were sceptical about these woods; they had little confidence that even pine trees would thrive in the infertile soil. The famous conservationist Jac. P. Thijsse also protested strongly, believing the woods would have an adverse effect on the landscape. He feared they would cause the draining of the wet dune valleys, thus resulting in the loss of a unique piece of nature. However, the critics, including Thijsse, later came round to the idea and the woods, which soon got the nickname of De Dennen (The Pines), were considered a valuable addition by the Texel people too: finally there was a place on the island where you could ‘escape’ the wind!
Originally, the woods had been planted for the production of wood, but in the period that followed, the role of the woods changed. The wood yield was disappointing and as a result of growing tourism, the woods increasingly served a more recreational purpose.
Although the woods are still called De Dennen, in recent decades, more and more deciduous trees have been planted to create more attractive, more diverse woods of a greater natural value. This process also didn’t run smoothly, by the way: Texel people were up in arms when Staatsbosbeheer decided to cut down a considerable number of coniferous trees a few years ago.
The role of Staatsbosbeheer, responsible for the management of the Texel woods, has changed over the years. Since the seventies, the focus has mainly been on nature restoration and development and on facilitating and managing the options for nature recreation. For instance, many cycle paths, bridle paths and footpaths have been added, playgrounds created, there is a mountain bike path, a viewing tower and a barbecue area. The Texel woods are part of the National Park Duinen van Texel.
Photographer: Frans Alderse Baas
There are two woodlands where you can enjoy great walks: Krimbos in the north and De Dennen near De Koog. Read more about these beautiful woodlands.
On Texel, it’s possible to find every kind of landscape you can find elsewhere in the Netherlands. Explore the 40 or so nature reserves yourself
Do you want personal tips for your holiday? Then sign up for the newsletter