The Drentsche Aa is one of the beautiful parts of the province of Drenthe. It is especially known for its nature and extensive recreational possibilities, for instance hiking and cycling around the region. Despite agricultural activities and many towns in the Drentsche Aa district, the streams have maintained their original meandering character. This nature reserve can be find within the triangle of Assen-Gieten-Glimmen, but the water that flooded through the river Drentsche Aa used to stream further trough Groningen via the Hunze river to the sea.
At the end of the ice ages, melt water from the ice caps in Holland formed many streams and rivers. In this region it meant that water from the higher Hondsrug had to find its way to the sea through the Drenthe landscape. A bit strange is that the main stream only had the name Drentsche Aa within the province of Groningen. In Drenthe from the point where the Anreeperdiep and the Amerdiep come together it is called respectively: Deurzerdiep, Looner Diep, Taarlosche Diep, Oudemolensche Diep, Schipborsche Diep and Westerdiep. The Aa has many smaller and bigger tributaries.
The territory around the Drentsche Aa has a varied landscape where woods and meadows are varied by crop fields and grasslands. Because of the unique mixture of nature and agricultural activities the Drentsche Aa region was not turned into a National Park, but received the title 'Nationaal Beek- en Esdorpenlandschap' (national stream and village green landscape). Specifically the way in which man and nature live hand in hand here makes the Drentsche Aa so special. From the heath meadows that existed in the past, some were preserved like the BallooŽrveld.
Besides older woods we find wood banks and young forests that made their entrance during the partial development of the territory for the benefit of settlements and agriculture. More recent nature preservation organizations have start to replace flora species that were introduced by man by more domestic types.
Characteristic for the territory around the Drentsche Aa are the agricultural activities. Since the first people established their life in the region, agriculture became of great importance and started to change the landscape. Not only in the way the scenery was developed, but also by the various Esdorpen, Saxon farms, sheepfolds, churches and mills. In most of the towns we find a brink (village green), which played an important role throughout the years with animal husbandry, wood construction and later on also village markets.
As a visitor the best way to explore the versatility of the region landscape and culture history is by bike or walking. Special constructed paths lead you along the sreams, fields, woods, towns and heath fields. There are also lots of dirt roads that make it possible to explore the region by riding a horse.
Spread throughout the Nationaal Beken- en Esdorpenlandschap we find several good starting points for an exploration of the Drentsche Aa-territory. For instance the visitor centre of Staatsbosbeheer in Anloo or the information center of the sheepfold BallooŽrveld near Balloo.
Many tourists come to the Drentsche Aa region for a day by car to explore the territory by bicycle or walk. Prepare yourself well, because it is not possible to park your car in every town.
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