A glance at the Noordenveld
The Lhee-Kraloo road currently runs through the former agricultural area, the Noordenveld. However, as a part of the Dwingelderveld Development project, the appearance of this area will undergo significant changes. After the excavation of the nutrient-rich surface layer, the original slight relief of the heathland returns. The land released creates a sound barrier along the A28, which despite all the traffic, helps to make the large health quieter. It all sounds very simple, but for Auke Boersma – the advisor preparing the development of the area on behalf of the Consultative body – it is certainly not a ‘cutting corners’ mindset. The core of the work lies in the European zoning plan of the Dwingelderveld to the Natura 2000 area. This zoning plan provides the administration and the development with a goal, but this can only be achieved through a patient process of consideration.
If you know what you want, then you can get right to work, correct?
“It just seems that way. Having a broad idea of what you want doesn't mean that all of the small details are automatically clear. We want to dispose of enriched agricultural soil, we want to find a place for it as nearby as possible, and yes, we want a noise barrier. But it is precisely this part of the A28 that was formed with great care and input by landscape architects. You won't find such a beautiful decor - think of that broad semi-open median - surrounding the highway anywhere else. A noise wall in this area therefore cannot and should never take the form of a sleek, bare levee body giving the impression that it hides an industrial terrain. No, that's a long way from what we want. On the other hand, the result that we want to achieve with the wall is clear: the reduction of noise and increased tranquility in the National Park, for the nature and for the cyclist or hiker.”
What does that mean for the Noordenveld. The plan is to excavate, is it not? And that brings back a vast amount of heathland.
"Indeed, we want the Noordenveld to once again be part of the open heathland. Thereby, we increase the carrying capacity of the entire system, providing the flora and fauna with the necessary space. Of course, you don't achieve this by coming along with a chainsaw and shovel and flattening out a century worth of reclamation history. There are a number of issues to be considered that we are going to approach and weigh up with care. Just think of the lane plantings, some six hundred oak trees between eighty and ninety years old. Or the blackberry thickets between plots of land that the red-backed shrike calls home. The trees and bushes that mark long since disappeared farms, or the historical boarder where - in the time that the Dwingelderveld was still called 'wasteland' - the reclamation halted. Between all of these values and the commission to achieve a diverse open heathland, we are constantly looking for a balance."
But if you have to choose, then you always choose for one or the other, correct?
"You can also highlight the open character and expansiveness with what you allow to grow. With that which you choose to keep, you accent small bushes, solitary trees, webbing or rows of trees. We are in a process in which we take many different lines of approach into account. Our plan to create openness in this area and connect it to the rest of the heathland incorporates layer upon layer of opinion. People can look at the area in many different ways. In this way, they also come to different conclusions of what is valuable or characteristic of the area. If each individual makes a map of the area featuring the most valuable vegetation according to their point of view, you can layer these maps atop one another like transparencies. Just now, I could name five layers we’re considering in our deliberations.
- Our site-administrators of Natuurmonumenten and the State Forestry Commission made a map with the entire characteristic or beautifully developed trees, families of trees, and landscape features.
- There are numerous historical boundary lines (a line marking the transition from the reclamation to the heathland) and traces of disappeared farms in the area. To keep these recognizable in the future, we received suggestions to spare trees, families of trees, and parts from the avenue planting.
- The mysteriousness of the heathland, the feeling of a larger whole, was reflected in a contribution with a vision of the earth radiation and energy channels. These also contained concrete advice regarding the vegetation to be preserved.
- The thickets, trees, and canals were highlighted as ecologically important given that they supply the migratory route for salamanders and foraging bats as well as a call post for birds.
- There is even an inventory of all the trees with hollows and crevices and research is underway into options for those trees to be possibly inhabited by bats."
Is it not the case that all of these opinions just contribute to further lack of clarity?
"We are going to overlap all of these layers atop one another. Doing so will ensure that we are able to achieve our mission to create openness and landscape coherence, while also making a responsible balance for every tree and bush in the area. By means of this layered approach, no values are left out and you will notice that all of the varying opinions actually overlap quite a bit. In any case, a well thought-out plan will take form, most likely by the end of this year. We would very much like to plant trees in another location of the Westerveld municipality to compensate for those lost at the Noordenveld. Of course, this should be a location environmentally responsible to the landscape. We are open to suggestions for a location suitable to the planting of new oaks, preferably in relation to or in the vicinity of the National Park. If this is not possible, then we are open to other forms of landscape development incorporating trees; with quality, sustainability, and as a valuable addition to the region."