This is a beautiful and very varied route. The Gelderland Castle Route East has a total length of 355 kilometers. You can shorten the trip at some points, and so-called ‘day loops’ have been made. As other routes of this holiday arrangement already go to the south and to the west, we decided to head east and visit Diepenheim, Huis Weldam and Wegdem, castle Nijenhuis and Huize Diepenheim. The Park of Landgoed Warmelo can be visited. Diepenheim is an artists’ village, so you can expect many galleries, pleasant shops and cafés.
On your way to the village of Laren, you cycle past Huize Ampsen. You continue through the pastures to the edge of the Gorsselse Heide (heathlands). At a six-forked intersection you take the Eikeboomlaan to Huize ‘t Joppe. You leave the pleasant village of Gorssel and cycle through the water meadows of the IJssel. In these floodplains you will come across elevated sections of land with houses and farms; they are the river dunes. Whenever the river floods, the farms and livestock can stay high and dry.
At the Gorsselse mill you will see a stork village. This country has a total of five stork villages. What once started as a bird sanctuary, has expanded into a densely populated stork village. The animals like the place so much that they don’t even bother leaving in the winter. In the vicinity you can see hunting storks and maybe their babies. Just outside the village of Gorssel you find the splendid country house ‘t Joppe. On your way back, remember the Sluice complex Eefde is worth visiting.
This route links up a number of different country estates: De Boekhorst, Velhorst, ‘t Velde, De Voorst, De Ehze, Verwolde and Ampsen. Farms belong to the estates; the color of the shutters tells you which farms belong to which estates. The gently rolling countryside alternates between fields, meadows, wooded banks and forests. The Berkel, a 115 kilometer-long stream, flows through the village of Almen. Up to the start of the 20th century, long, flat boats, the ‘zomp’, plied their way up and down the stream; peat, timber and agricultural products were transported this way. In the house at Huis Verwolde you can enjoy a cup of tea and walk around.
The name De Graafschap is related to a feudal past (‘graaf’ means ‘earl’). This is still quite evident in Vorden, Laren, Ruurlo and Lochem. You ride past eight castles or large country houses (manors), surrounded by estates with splendid lanes, forests, fields and Saxon farmsteads. The patterns and colors of the shutters of the farmhouses show which estate they belong to. The landscape consists of a gently rolling surface sand environment, with the old farmlands or ash trees around the villages and on the higher slopes. Between those areas there are many wet areas. You pass the Veengoot (peat drain) a few times, a drainage canal dug at the start of the 19th century thanks to the efforts of A.C.W. Staring (1767-1840), who was an agricultural scientist as well as a poet.
This area with its hilly landscape has two wooded peaks: the Lochemse Berg in the north and the Kaleberg in the south. They reach a height of almost 50 meters and are separated by a saddle-shaped lower part that is mainly used as farming land. The Geldersch Landschap foundation owns about three-quarters of this area that covers a good 200 hectares.
The route leaves the town of Lochem through a beautiful residential neighborhood from the start of this century, called Villapark Berkeloord. Next you pass the castle “De Cloese” on the Berkel and you see the “Witte Wieven”. Via Huize Beekvliet and past various ‘mountains’ you return to the hotel.