Behind the urbanized coastline of Blankenberge lies the nature reserve Uitkerkse Polder where tranquility prevails. It is an open landscape, without many trees and hedges and gives its visitors a feeling of freedom.

A nature reserve on the Belgian coast!

Then most people think of the Zwin. However, the Zwin is ‘only’ 120 hectares in size. The Uitkerkse Polder area is 1,400 hectares, 600 hectares of which are nature reserve. It is therefore the largest nature reserve in West Flanders.

Uitkerkse Polder used to be a swamp area, regularly flooded by the sea. When, 5000 years ago, the sea no longer inundated the area, a thick layer of clay was deposited on the bottom and reed marshes and heather fens could grow there, which in turn caused the formation of peat. This created a landscape of mud flats and salt marshes, similar to how the landscape of the Zwin looks today.

A diverse area!

Because the Uitkerkse Polder is a very diverse, water-rich area with much higher grassland, it attracts many meadow birds and ducks. You can find birds such as the black-tailed godwit, lapwing, avocet and redshank in the area. In the winter months thousands of geese migrate from the cold north and come here. Uitkerkse Polders is therefore the most important meadow bird area in Flanders. The four bird huts and observation towers scattered in the landscape ensure that visitors can enjoy these special birds.

Because there are fewer and fewer landscapes like the Uitkerkse Polder, birds have less and less room to nest. Reason enough to keep fighting for the protection and expansion of Uitkerkse Polder!

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There are three hiking trails that run through the area. The polder is also very bike friendly. For the children there is a bookbag to borrow. Sturdy shoes are recommended. Additional information can be found on the website of the Uitkerkse Polder.

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