The waterwheel is an original from a watermill that once stood in this place. The watermills in Beek were of various purpose, that could be for grinding granes, but also to automate laundry washing as well as the making of paper. These industries are now all gone, but tourism in these truely beautiful hills and near the town Nijmegen, has brought new economic prosperity to the Beek-Ubbergen surroundings.
Rising over the chapel, the present Bartholomeus church is a magnificent building that towers over all other buildings in the village of Beek-Ubbergen. The towers even compete with the surrounding hills. The mixture of styles in the architecture still knows to make one image that doesn't have any ugliness in it. The many red and few yellowish stones contrast with eachother cheating lines and figures all around the church. The total appearance of this quite large church in the modest Beek is impressive. The church now-a-days belongs to the reformed section of the Dutch great variety in christian church societies.
The described walk in this "Must see activities" is starting on the Rijksstraatweg near the manucipality hall of Beek and going from there uphill through the creek's valley to return down the road downhill and end in the centre of the village. Here we again meet a laundry lady that stand next to the fountains on the main square. She is carrying a basket with laundry back to the customers. Here the creek's water is running in a gutter along the street and again we see that water indeed works, by keeping the streets clean.
Nijmegen, the oldest town in the Netherlands, was a Roman outpost surrounded by a settlement in the beginning of our year's counting. Already in the year 111 A.D. it got it's cityrights. Another early important place was Xanten in Germany and between these twons a road was made. This "Via Romana" has left until this day reminders and parts of the road are more or less in the exact place still. In Beek-Ubbergen a milestone was discovered that showed distances, date and names in this ancient road sign. The milestone is now in the archeological museum "Het Valkhof" in Nijmegen. The road can still be followed from Noviomagus (Nijmegen) to Xanten.
In the centre of Beek a large green square is pressed in between the large church and the main road. In the green old graves are sticking out above the grass surrounding a small stone building. This is the old Batholomeus chapel. A remarkable little building that survived many centuries and dates back to early medieval times. The chapel now-a-days is used as wedding location for the inhabitants of the Beek-Ubbergen manucipality.
Behind the valley the natural park under protection of the Foundation of Gelderland Landscape rises up further onto the hills that are around 75 meters high at their top. From here beautiful views between the trees are offered onto the wide flat fields of the Ooij-polder (see also my pages about "Persingen" and "Ooij"). Here one can see very well the riverlands and look over them towards the hills of the "Veluwe" about 25 kilometers further away.
At the end of the valley and the creek, just on top of the "sprengkop" (well's head) a very special tree needs your attention. This enormous big chestnut tree is the biggest tree in the Netherlands and is nicknamed the "kabouter-boom" (dwarf's tree). Chestnuts are not a local tree, but already well known for many centuries. The romans brought the nuts with them from Italy and the tree felt at home in the climat and is now almost a natural phenomena in the whole of Europe. This one is old, very old. Over 800 years this tree has seen passing by! And it has a diameter of 800 centimeters. Sadly enough in the beginning of this year some total idiots have set fire to the tree (what kind of people do such things and may they be struck by lightning). The dwarf's tree is damaged severly and the tree foundation in the Netherlands is now monitoring the tree to see whether it will survive this brutal attack.
The creek is natural and still artificial. The water flows out from a "sprengkop" (= well's head) which is actually a hole that was dug here by mankind. As the natural waterlevels within the Beek-Ubbergen hills is relatively high and soft and hard ground layers are situated on top of eachother, the water stores in pockets inside the hills. Whenever such a pocket is opened, water drips out and slowly forms a little creek. The well's head here is a wide "dent in the hillside", now-a-days filled with an extremely fragile, but also incredable unique fauna.
Behind the water wheel and the statue of a lady that does the laundry in a little pond that is filled with the clear creek water (don't forget, the word creek in Dutch is "Beek"), starts a walk through a wonderful valley. The valley is following the water's flow in a green valley where high chestnut trees are rising up. the valley's floor is filled with forest-anemones and lillies of the valley. Especially in spring, when the little white flowers form a sweet smelling carpet, a walk here is like a dream. The path slowly rises up to the hill top.
For those who love nature, a walk through the little creek's valley will be a beautiful one. The path starts behind the washing lady (statue) and the water wheel. Here an explanation sign tells a bit about the project that keeps the little river flowing and reminds the present people about how important the clean water was for the village and it's surroundings. This project "water werkt" (water works) also is taking care of present problems excisting in Beek, when heavy rains fall and wash away parts from the hills, that now are also densely populated and built on.