Prince William III route: the prince orders a dike

Woerden - Utrecht - The Netherlands

Cycling route 346431

Provided by: Stichting Groene Hart

2113 35
44.67 km
787 kcal
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Some options for a drink and/or meal along the way:

Grand Castle Woerden, Castle 3.
Brasserie De Kazerne, Kruittorenweg 13.
Nieuwerbrug Museum Tasting the Coffee Garden, Weijpoort 12

Fort Wierickerschans, Groene Hart Centrum, South side 132.
Hekendorp: Café Goejanverwelle, Goejanwerwelle 29a.

Eatery't Backertje, Market East side 14.
Hotel Restaurant Abrona, Broeckerstraat 20

Restaurant Castle Montfoort, Castle Square 1
Restaurant and City Café The Old City Hall, Hoogstraat 36

Café Het Wapen van Linschoten, Dorpstraat 34

Background information

Starting point Fortified town of Woerden
In the eighteenth century, Woerden became a fortified town of the Old Dutch Waterline (OHWL). An almost complete outer moat or Singel and a small part of the inner moat remain of the double wall. A circular walk over the remains of the associated ramparts leads past quiet areas with water features, parks and cemeteries. A heavily constructed Arsenal (military warehouse) and a sizeable barracks, in classicist style, are among the most striking buildings in the historic center. The castle of Woerden has been preserved on the edge of this. The late medieval building was also part of the city's ramparts. Even older are the Roman traces that can be found in the city museum and the Castellum parking garage.

Headquarters of Prince William III
Approximately in the middle of the OHWL - from Gorinchem to Muiden - Prince William III established his headquarters at Bodegraven on the Oude Rijn in 1672. The passage of the Oude Rijn was defended with redoubts at Nieuwerbrug and the Wierickerschans. That was sufficient, until at the end of the year - in the absence of Prince William III - a French army unit managed to get behind these defenses over frozen inundated areas in Zegveld. Until Gouwsluis, where the Gouwe flows into the Oude Rijn, defenses were rendered inoperative and buildings and watermills were set on fire. Moreover, residents of the villages of Zwammerdam and Bodegraven fell prey to the destruction, robbery and murder of the French soldiers.

Fort Wierickerschans
From Woerden, the old towpath leads along the Oude Rijn - on the south side - to Fort Wierickerschans in Bodegraven. This fortress was built within a year after the disaster with the French soldiers. So it was the result of great shock and indignation. A breakthrough in the Old Rhine area was not allowed to happen again.
Fort Wierickerschans is surrounded by heavy, high walls and has four protruding corners: the so-called bastions. Connecting to the Oude Rijn, a wide moat has been constructed around the fort. The fortress measures more than one hundred by one hundred meters and on it are several military buildings. From the middle of the eighteenth century, the fort has been in use as a gunpowder depot for a long time. Heavy buildings in the courtyard still indicate this. These monumental buildings are currently being restored and renovated. Staatsbosbeheer has set up a visitor center on the fort:'Het Groene Hart Centrum\\\'.

The French enemy tried the inundation area of the Wiericken, between Oude Rijn and
Hollandsche IJssel, to be disrupted with a lot of river water in 1672-1673. As a result, Prince William III was forced to order a dyke: the western quay along the Single Wiericke had to be made into a heavy retaining dyke. For this work, each polder had to supply a contingent of burly men with tools. That happened, and the Prinsendijk is still there. The Prinsendijk, on the border of Holland and Utrecht, was a hurdle in peacetime that smugglers had to overcome. The smuggling path towards Hekendorp still reminds us of this. Now this area is popular with walkers and cyclists.

In the time of the OHWL, Hekendorp was called Goejan- or Goverwelle and the lock in the dike of the Hollandsche IJssel was called the Goejanverwellesluis (see also the Princess Route). The water from the Hollandsche IJssel was let in through this lock to flood the land between the Wiericken: an inundation area with a width of approximately two kilometers. Nowhere was the OHWL so narrow between Gorinchem and Muiden. That is why main posts of the prince's army were established in 1672-1673 both along the Oude Rijn and the Hollandsche IJssel. With the exception of Fort Wierickerschans, nothing has survived.
The route continues eastwards through the Hekendorpse Buurt to Oudewater.

Fortified town of Oudewater
The small old town has an unfortunate fortress past. The"murder of Oudewater\\\" took place in the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648). In 1672-1673 Oudewater lay unprotected for some time from the water line, ie before the line Goejanverwellesluis-Nieuwerbrug. It was not until the eighteenth century that the waterline was moved to the east and Oudewater was considerably strengthened. Traces of high bastions and a wide moat are best visible on the southeast side. From that old fortified southeast corner, the route continues over the Waardsedijk along the Hollandsche IJssel, through the Snelrewaard and in the direction of Montfoort.

Former Line of the Pleit
About halfway through Oudewater-Montfoort, Hoeve de Schans reminds us of the Line of Pleit that lay across the Hollandsche IJssel around 1800. Behind the farm, a deviating ditch pattern still reveals the location of a so-called half bastion. On the south side of the Hollandsche IJssel is the modern pumping station'De Pleyt\\\' and café-restaurant De Schans refers to the old line from the time of the OHWL.
In Montfoort you can find remnants of city walls and a gate, a moat and a partly restored and converted castle. In the eighteenth century, the Utrecht town was almost adjacent to the OHWL. For the next track of the waterline, the cycle path along the N 204 must be chosen in the direction of the village of Linschoten.

Former Line of Linschoten
Just before the village of Linschoten, the cycle path crosses the Linie van Linschoten. The defensive work from the end of the eighteenth century, located transverse to the current road, can still be recognized by traces of ground and groves, a last trace of a camouflage forest. On the other side of the N 204 a small farm bears the name'De schans\\\'. Behind it, the contours of the old land line extend further, as indicated on a panel along the cycle path.
The cycle route is continued through the church village of Linschoten and from there over the Weipad in the polder to the Cattenbroekerdijk. In a northerly direction this dike ends on the east side of Woerden.

Former fortresses Oranje and Kruipin
Over the Utrechtsestraatweg on the south side of the Oude Rijn, the route returns to the historic center of Woerden. At the height of the new Meander district, the street Fort Oranje and the residential areas Bastion Willem and Bastion Maurits are first passed. These names, together with newly created moat and bastion shapes, are reminiscent of the former fortress Orange. The small fortress De Kruipin was part of this on the north side of the Oude Rijn. At this point, the OHWL crossed the river in the eighteenth century.
In 1672 Prince William III and his soldiers had already collided with the French enemy on that spot. The'Battle of the Kruipin\\\' cost many lives and was accompanied by a major fire in the disputed Woerden.

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Pause places

Below you will find various suggestions for breaks that you can visit during your route. These are divided into different categories, making it easy for you to choose.

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