Cycling along the Ghent-Bruges canal between Lovendegem and Aalter

Lievegem, Flanders, Belgium

Cycling route: 140616

based on 1 reviews

Provided by: Groots Genieten

35.1 km
02:03 h
618 kcal
23 m


With this route you will discover the Meetjesland, a special region. In the northern Creeks area you cycle through extensive polders and along quiet creeks and canals. In the southern Houtland you walk through beautiful forests and along quiet watercourses. Anyone who wants to experience a healthy outdoor life will definitely find what they are looking for in Meetjesland. You start your route in Lovendegem, a very old town. The first part of the name (laud) is a corruption of the family name'Lubantos\\\', which later called itself'Luvand\\\'. The second part (gem) means home or home. Lovendegem therefore means establishment or permanent residence of a certain Luvand. The name already appeared in the 12th century in the form of Lovendeghem. In and around Lovendegem you will find beautiful natural views, authentic footpaths, historic buildings, small cafes and delicious eateries and restaurants where you can enjoy after your bike ride. In the center of Lovendegem -- probably on the site of an 11th-century place of worship -- stands the St. Martin's Church from the 15th century -- which was largely destroyed by the Beggars in the 16th century. The church was restored in 1616 according to a design by master builders Jan and Robrecht Persyns, after which it was enlarged in 1767 and again in 1822. In 1896-97, the St. Martin's Church was rebuilt in an almost completely neo-Gothic style. But Lovendegem is mainly known as a castle town - the castles are all privately owned, but you can see them beautifully from your bike. There are about ten castles and country houses on the territory of Lovendegem, including the castle of Lovendegem. Near the church, a long avenue gives access to the castle - this imposing oak avenue is protected as a valuable landscape. In all likelihood, this castle already existed at the end of the 14th century. Regarding the exploits that took place around the castle, the occupation of the castle by the people of Ghent in 1383 during their umpteenth uprising against Louis of Male is mentioned and on St Andrew's Day in 1452 it was plundered and thoroughly destroyed by the war bands. In 1641, the building was significantly enlarged for the first time by esquire Joos Triest. He built the north wing with the still existing chapel and the painted glass window. The castle with its towers is surrounded by a beautiful park with pine forests and domains and is owned by the Dons de Lovendegem family, but you can walk through it: it's worth it! Then you drive a long way along the Ghent-Bruges canal, one of the oldest canals in the country. The history of the Ghent-Bruges canal begins in the 13th century. It was the people of Bruges who started the excavation work in an attempt to free the Zwingeul, which was silting up. They wanted to connect to the Leie in Deinze, but this met with fierce resistance from the city of Ghent. The dispute dragged on for a long time. At the end of the 14th century, the Ghent White Hoods fought in Aalter with the Bruges canal diggers, who lost the argument. It was not until 1604 that the Flemish cities agreed on a canal that would connect Ghent, Bruges and Ostend with each other and the sea. The canal (42 km) was finally opened in 1625. The canal forms an important green ribbon between Ghent and Bruges. It fulfills a"corridor function\\\"; animals can move freely from one area to another. The green canal leads through a wide variety of biotopes, from sparse grasslands, thickets with broom and gorse to forest zones and reed collars, which are very valuable for a number of bird species. This is how you reach Aalter, a town whose history goes back much further. Archaeological finds show that the Aalter territory was already inhabited during prehistoric times. The name Aalter first appeared in the year 974 when part of Villa Haleftra was donated to St. Peter's Abbey in Ghent. Aalter played an important role in the Revolution of Ghent against the count. In 1379, the White Hoods defeated the Bruges canal diggers on Aalter territory. The digging of the Brugse Vaart from 1613 to 1623 in the Durme river basin was an important development for the place. Many fortifications were built along the canal to defend against the Dutch. In 1918, the upper part of the spire of St. Cornelius Church was dynamited by German troops. This destruction also caused extensive damage to the roof. The church had been rebuilt and greatly expanded 15 years earlier. The destruction from the First World War was restored from 1921 to 1923, according to the neo-Gothic plans of architect Camille Goethals from 1902. You drive back to Zomergem via a beautiful rural route and then on to your starting point.
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