Explore the banks of the largest contiguous water sports area in the Netherlands. The Maasplassen stretch, with an area of 3000 hectares, between various Limburg villages and towns. The water sports area was created by the extraction of gravel, which happened on a large scale in the twentieth century. When the pools arose, the surrounding congregations took advantage of them and managed to turn it into a wonderful recreation area. Cozy marinas, nice restaurants, beaches and campsites attract many people to the Maasplassen, while beautiful nature reserves are also a stone's throw away. This cycle route also takes you to the most beautiful mills and castles in the area, even across the Belgian-Dutch border! The Uffelsemolen is the old ban mill in the former area of Kessenich. The mill in Haler was initially located on the Abeek, but now the canalised Uffelse Beek supplies the mill with hydropower. The first mill on this site was built in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, but in 1800 the long-gable farmhouse on which the wheel hung had fallen so far that it was decided to rebuild it. The Uffelsemolen originally had three pairs of grinding stones, but one torque was replaced so that a diesel engine could be installed in the mill to which a different torque was connected. The third couple continued to work on hydropower. You pass one of the few remaining water mills on the Ittersebeek. The Armenmolen is a water mill that was used to grind corn. In 1686 the bottom watermill was built to give poorer people the opportunity to grind their grain. The mill performed its function until 1950. The exterior still looks authentic, but the Armenmolen is now used as a home. After you have crossed the border with Belgium you will pass Groenenberg Castle. Dating back to 1890, this beautiful castle is set in the middle of a beautiful 45-acre park. With winding roads, curved forest edges and extensive lawns, the design of the beautiful park fits completely in the typical image of English garden architecture. The park is an oasis of tranquility with beautiful plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas and rhododendrons. Then you cycle to castle De Grote Hegge. This breathtaking castle is located on the outskirts of Thorn, about 300 meters from the old core. This unique monumental location exudes history, but also has a modern touch. The castle is now used as a conference center and has several rooms. Weddings, parties, funerals and coffee tables are organized, among other things. You will then continue to Heel Castle. This beautiful castle is located on the southern edge of the village of the same name. Heel Castle is first mentioned in 1264, but little of the old castle has survived over the years. The current building dates from the seventeenth century. The house has two lower side wings that were added in the eighteenth century. The castle cannot be visited from the inside. Arrived in Grathem is the Grathemermolen, a water mill that was built on the Uffelse brook in the center of Grathem. The history of the Grathemsemolen goes back to the thirteenth century. At that time there was a ban mill in Grathem that later came into the possession of a family who lived at the Groot Buggenum castle. In 1915 the mill was converted into a turbine mill. From the connection to the electricity grid in 1930, electric grounding was carried out. The water wheel you see now is a replica of the original. The wheel was replaced in 1995 and attached to a cast iron interior from 1866; the oldest cast drive mechanism for millstones in the Netherlands. This interior came from the burnt Brunssumer Mill. Just over six kilometers after that, you will return to Ell at the starting point of the cycle route. At Eetcafe 'De Prairie' you can end your trip with a small snack. A snack and a drink will taste good after this long bike ride of more than fifty kilometers. After 5 p.m. you can also dine there, so that even if you enjoy the trip for longer, you can have a nice dinner and drinks.