Jammerdaalse Heide

Limburg  >  Netherlands

An old sand and clay extraction pit turned into a nature reserve with lots of water and surrounding forests.

Added by Bas Engels


The "Jammerdaalse Heide" is an old sand and clay extraction pit (active until 1930's) that was turned into a nature reserve. The area consists of several deep waterholes, steep sand walls and surrounding forests (mainly deciduous). The water is low in nutrients, so little vegetation and fishes are present. This results in low numbers of waterfowl. Sometimes a pair of Common Teal can be present. Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe can be seen on both larger water bodies. On multiple locations, dead trees and branches hang over the water. Here, Common Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail can often be found. Sometimes a Common Sandpiper is present too.

Surrounding the water bodies, broad patches of reedbed are present. These parts are used by common reedbirds, like Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting. Sometimes Water Rail can be heard.

The steep sand walls were once a perfect location for a breeding colony of Sand Martin and numbers could reach over 60 nests, but due to erosion and human interference, the colony isn't there anymore. In early spring you can still find small numbers searching for suitable nesting grounds, but in recent years no breeding pairs have been established.

There are small patches of heathland present in mainly the northern part of the area. Species like European Stonechat breeds here. In the surrounding trees and bushes, Tree Pipit and Wood Lark can be found. Most of these patches of heathland are very old burial mounts from the early Iron Age. They are clearly visible in the landscape and are mostly covered by heathland and shrubs.

The surrounding forests, which mainly consists of deciduous forest are home to a large variety of common songbird, like Willow Warbler, Common Redstart and Garden Warbler. Scarcer species, like Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler can be present too. Woodpeckers can be seen and heard in larger numbers and all five species are present: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Green Woodpecker and Black Woodpecker. Above the forest, predatory birds can be spotted, like European Honey-buzzard and Sparrowhawk and sometimes even a Osprey can be seen. In winter, large flocks of finches and tits are present.

In the southern side of the area, agricultural fields are present. Sometimes, small numbers of Grey Partridge can be present. In winter, small flocks of Stock Dove can be seen.



The area is fairly easy accessable and clear tracks lead through the old sand pit. All tracks are unpaved, except the one from the parking lot down the road into the pit. The track is very hilly and you'll have to climb several fairly steep hills, but are very doable.

Terrain and Habitat

Forest, Scattered trees and bushes, Wetland, Valley, Moors/heathland, Lake, Reedbeds


Hilly, Sandy

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?


Good birding season


Best time to visit



Unpaved road, Wide path

Difficulty walking trail

Average walk

Accessible by


Birdwatching hide / platform


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Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here


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