Four new ‘Sagas and Legends’ cycling routes in the Kempen bring well-known regional folk tales to life. They tell the stories of ‘Kabouterkoning Kyrië’, ‘De Dansende Katten’, ‘De Witte Vos’ and ‘De Gloeiige’. The routes are located in the municipalities of Bladel, Bergeijk, Reusel-De Mierden and Eersel. They were launched this week in Eersel by the municipalities and tourist marketing organisations in collaboration with VisitBrabant Routebureau.
The Kempen cycling routes vary in distance from 22 to 53 kilometres. They are easy to follow thanks to the official signposts. The routes are available as a free brochure from the tourist information points and from various entrepreneurs in the four municipalities. Each cycling route can also be viewed online on a mobile phone at routesinbrabant.nl. At all starting points, there is a special information panel with the regional story and the route. During the tour, the cyclist follows in the footsteps of one of the characters from these exciting stories.
Stories stir the imagination
Fabio Tat, manager of VisitBrabant Routebureau: “Stories appeal to the imagination of young and old. It is cycling routes that connect those stories and places. Just about every municipality has its own folk tale. This allows us to develop beautiful experience routes that invite people to enjoy the region, and generate many visitors for entrepreneurs. Together we can bring these routes to the attention of the public, even outside our own municipal boundaries.”
The routes are developed in collaboration with VisitBrabant Routebureau, Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas), and the local tourist marketing organisations and municipalities.
Alderman Léon Kox (municipality of Eersel) says, “Folk tales, also known as ‘sagas’, are passed on from generation to generation. In the past, this was done to protect children from harm or to ensure that villagers adhere to the rules. And who doesn’t love a great story around the fire? The Kempen is rich in regional stories. Our new experience routes breathe new life into this beautiful tradition, with an imaginative design, fascinating locations along the routes, and local entrepreneurs who respond to the theme with their offerings.”
Various distances and starting points
The ‘Sagen & Legenden’ cycling routes in the Kempen vary in distance and start at different locations in the region:
‘De Gloeiige’, municipality of Eersel
The story: ‘De Gloeiige’ was once a stately landlord of Eersel. But because of his greed, a curse was put on him and he wanders over the Cartierheide like a burning ghost …
Distance cycle route: 30 km. Starting point and information panel: Natuurpoort TerSpegelt, Postelseweg 88, Eersel. This route has been enhanced by a mysterious statue of de Gloeiige at the edge of the Cartierheide, and ‘whispering columns’ along the cycle path at Knegsel.
More info: visitbrabant.com/glowing
‘Kabouterkoning Kyrië’, municipality of Bladel
The story: a long time ago, a gnome population lived in the Kempen. In the evening they came out and helped the people of Kempen with the hard work. At least, as long as they were left in peace …
Distance cycle route: 22 km + Gnome route of 2.5 km in Hoogeloon. Starting point and information panel: Recreatiepark De Achterste Hoef, Troprijt 10, Bladel.
More info: visitbrabant.com/kabouterkoning
‘De Witte Vos’, municipality of Reusel-De Mierden
The story: for years, the inhabitants of Reusel smuggled goods across the border to get money. None of them were as cunning and notorious as ‘De Witte Vos’ …
Distance cycle route: 53 km, consisting of a northern loop (28 km) and a southern loop (25 km). Starting point and information panel: Natuurpoort De Brandtoren, 5 Burgemeester Willekenslaan 5, Reusel.
More info: visitbrabant.com/wittevos
‘De Dansende Katten’, municipality of Bergeijk
The story: the Kattenberg in Bergeijk used to be horribly haunted. Here the witches, disguised as black cats, danced hand in hand. Every man avoided this place, except Dorus, the miller …
Distance cycle route: 22 km. Starting point and information panel: Het Hof, Bergeijk.
More info: visitbrabant.com/dansendekatten
Launched in 2020: the ‘Zwarte Kaat’ cycling route, municipality of Bladel
The story: Zwarte Kaat used to make the Kempen unsafe with her gang of robbers. Now the ‘Witch of Hellenende’ is hidden in the beautiful nature …
Distance cycle route: 36 km. Starting point and information panel: Recreatiepark De Achterste Hoef, Troprijt 10, Bladel.
More info: visitbrabant.com/zwartekaat
About De Brabantse Kempen
The various local Visit organisations and leisure departments of the municipalities of the Kempen municipalities (which provide access to tourism at the local level) have joined forces to strengthen the tourist offerings in the region. The new experience routes are a good example of this. A collaboration with VisitBrabant has been chosen for these routes, based on the success story of ‘Zwarte Kaat’. This route was previously developed in Bladel and was very successful as a pilot.
About VisitBrabant Routebureau
VisitBrabant Routebureau, together with its partners, is responsible for the management and maintenance of all junction routes in North Brabant on behalf of the province and municipalities. In addition, VisitBrabant Routebureau develops new experience routes and promotes Brabant as the number one route province of the Netherlands. VisitBrabant Routebureau (routesinbrabant.nl) is part of VisitBrabant, the marketing organisation for the province of North Brabant.
Translated by: Shanthi Ramani