Navigation system address: Broekpolderlaan 17, Honselersdijk. You park next to the water.
Wollebrand Restaurant and Waterski Centre. A really large, surf-type cafe/restaurant. The building is made out of wood inside and out, and (successfully) trying for the lounge/surfing vibe. Dogs were welcome on the terrace when we went there, but not sure if they are allowed inside. Service was quite good too. Do not expect haute cuisine, but the food is varied, fresh and well-presented. You can eat in three different settings: inside, on a multi-level fully sheltered terrace or on the outside terrace.
When we bumped into two policemen around the ’round pond’ last summer, we were told that the whole area was strictly on-leash. I told a lady with her (off-leash) dog about it today and she looked very surprised, telling me she had been walking her dog there for the last eight years without a problem. To research a little more.
For now, go off-leash at your own risk, and definitely not in the following areas:
- directly around the round pond: there are so many fishermen and it is such a narrow path that your dog is bound to either be a nuisance to them, or even get injured on their equipment;
- on the race track, as I do not know precisely what vehicles use this track, or when. It would therefore be unsafe to let your dog run about on the wide asphalted lanes there unless you are 100% sure that no race vehicle is also using the track; and
- around the water ski lake at certain spots: around the restaurant and in the children’s beach play area. This is just common courtesy.
What is so special about it?
The Wollebrand recreatiegebied covers a rather wide surface, offers quite a lot of variation in landscape, and has special attractions like the children’s beach and the water ski cable run.
Round pond and bosgebied
You can walk around the pond two ways: one path runs right next to the water’s edge, and another forms an elevated circle around the first path. If you take the elevated path (i.e. the outer circle), your view of the pond will be broken by shrubs and bushes.
You can return back down to the ‘inner circle’ at several places on the elevated path, or you can choose to explore the side-paths branching off from the outer path. Some will shall take you to little ponds and rivulets, woody areas or green fields.
I think it is officially part of what the municipality calls the ‘bosgebied’, but I call it the ‘hedge ridge’. It is a network of hedged paths climbing up and down a hilly ridge separating the ’round pond’ from the race track. The hedges are made of interwoven twigs, giving the paths a really pittoresque feel.
Cycle race track
I have seen people take their dogs there, and I have too, but its primary function is a race track. I believe it only gets used by bicycles, but it is so wide and such high quality asphalt that I wonder whether it also gets used for motor vehicles. I like going there as it gives me the impression of walking through a life-sized Mario Cart track, with its dramatic bends and slopes. It also tends to be absolutely deserted, which is a rare luxury if you live in the Randstad.
If you locate the restaurant, the dog beach is situated precisely at the other end of the lake from it. On a quiet day, you can enjoy a nice picnic there (if you can ignore the noise of the nearby Veilingroute). I like the fact that dogs are clearly welcome there. It makes a change to feel ‘legit’ when walking my dog. If your dog is braver than mine, they may enjoy a dip in the water there, and there is even a ramp to help them come back out.
You could choose to continue away from the lake and take the path under the Veilingroute if you want to let your dog run free through wide outstretched fields of green grass. I do not commonly come across other dogs there, so this could be the ideal place to let your less-than-social dog off-leash at relatively little risk.
Waterski cable and children’s beach play area
The Wollebrand caters for human needs too, with a children’s play area right on the (sandy) ‘beach’ of the lake and the possibility to do some cable-powered water skiing. These areas are, of course, not really suited for dogs.
What to look out for
The domain can get ridiculously busy on summer days.
The water’s edge at the dog beach does not have a gradual incline, so if your dogs are chicken, they won’t dare swim.
The domain is bordered on one side by the Veilingroute, which is a really busy road. This makes for unpleasant traffic noise and it is not even properly fenced off from the domain. So watch out if you continue your walk beyond the dog beach, and make sure your dog does not bolt off onto the road.
The bits and pieces you may be interested in can be quite far apart, and are linked by less than charming asphalt roads.
Be very very very careful if you give the race track a go, as I am not100% sure what vehicles use it or when, and I am pretty sure it is officially off-limits for dogs.
Some paths on the ‘hilly ridge’ look like they get used by BMX quite a bit. I never came across them, but they definitely come there. Just keep an eye out to prevent any collisions with your distracted dog.
As per most popular walking routes, what I call ‘pic-nic pollution’ is a real problem here, so you shall really frequently be confronted with really ugly piles of left-over garbage.