National Park Dunes of Texel
National Parks are extensive nature areas with important natural assets and many opportunities to enjoy them. The Dunes on Texel completely satisfy these criteria. In a National Park, co-operation is promoted between everyone associated with the area. In that way, the protection of nature is improved. Enjoying the natural aspects in a National Park is important. By laying out hiking and bicycling paths in a well thought-out manner, conserving nature and recreation can go hand-in-hand. Ecomare is the information centre for the National Park Dunes of Texel. This is where one can find answers to the most divergent questions concerning the area. In the Dune Park connected with the centre, there are laid-out paths where one can walk around with or without a guide. Ecomare is open daily from 9.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. Dogs are not allowed.
Each of the terrains within the National Park has its own characteristic flora. In the dune-slacks, uncommon vegetation, such as parnassus, early marsh orchids, marsh helleborine, and the chaff weed can be found. The age of the dunes also influences the vegetation. The young dunes close to the waterfront contain proportionally more lime. This is where marram grass in particular is frequently found. The older dunes lying more inland have a lime deficiency. The lime dissolves in the rainwater and sinks to the bottom. Various types of heather grow well here. The extensive nature area, the Slufter, is an exceptional place. Through an opening in the row of dunes, the seawater flows through this plain. The salt-tolerant flora found here is predominantly sea lavender, thrift, sea woodworm and annual seablite
The value Texel possesses as a ’bird island’ is determined to a large degree by the richness of birds found in the dunes. Every year, approximately 80 types of birds breed here, among which the spoonbill, little tern and the short-eared owl are some of the rarest, and the lesser black-backed gull is one of the most numerous.
During migration time, the dunes are an important resting and foraging area for ten thousands of birds. Due to its isolated situation, the number of mammals found on Texel is small. One finds: stoats, rabbits, hares, brown rats, hedgehogs, five species of mice (among which the root vole), and a few kinds of bats (especially the serotine). Among the amphibians found on Texel, one can find the common and moor frog, the natterjack toad and the smooth newt.
For centuries now, planting marram grass has been a recurrent task in order to fight large-scale sand-drifting in the dunes. On a small scale, sand-drift can actually mean renewal and replenishment. In several of the dune-slacks, the State Forestry regularly trims bushes and grass in order to prevent overgrowth which could lead to the disappearance of extraordinary plants and animals. Grazing animals such as sheep, cattle or horses are also used for this purpose. Sometimes, a large one-time intervention will take place to end an undesirable development.
Hiking and bicycle paths, horse trails, playgrounds, outlook points and other facilities are also maintained by the State Forestry, making it possible to enjoy the surrounding nature.
Hiking in the National Park
A network of paths have been laid out, most of which are open to the public. Dogs must always be leashed in the dunes. The coloured posts have various meanings:
a through-way, for example, to the beach
a circular tour whereby one ends at the starting point
a path in a (protected) rest-area; not open to the public from 1 March to 16 August
a nature path
All paths in the woods are open to the public.
The State Forestry offers various guided tours daily so that one can experience the value these terrains offer. The tours last approximately two hours; one can sign up for them at Ecomare. Participation costs € 7,00 per person, children under 12 years old, € 4,00 .
Guided tours from Ecomare: € 5,50 per person (for adults and children). Ask about the possibilities by Ecomare. Starting times and locations of excursions can be accommodated for groups.
Guided Tours 2010