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John S. Thompson Brug

Market Garden complete

  • Destination: Noord-Brabant and Gelderland, Belgian border to Arnhem
  • Kind of trip: We roughly follow the tracks of the allied forces during Operation Market Garden, which liberated this part of the Netherlands. The route goes through the fields, over lanes, through villages and cities, and shows you the wonderful nature of this region.
  • Duration: 13 days (12 nights)
  • Difficulty trip:
  • Inclusive: Twelve overnight stays in comfortable 3 star hotels including breakfast, dinner, luggage transport, maps and English route directions, GPS tracks, free parking, VAT, tourist taxes and Guarantee Foundation
  • Exclusive: The outward and homeward journey, lunch, and travel and cancellation insurance
  • Dog: Not allowed
  • Price:
    • € 1225 per person based on 2 people (€ 16,25 per person per day surcharge for luggage transport on saturdays and sundays)
    • € 1750 per person when travelling alone (€ 32,50 surcharge per day for luggage transport on saturdays and sundays)
    • Are there more of you please contact Hike in Holland for pricing
    • If you don't want the included dinner, there is a discount of € 250 per person
    • If you don't need the lugagge transportation, there is a disount of € 150 per person by 2 persons
    • If you don't need the lugagge transportation, there is a disount of € 300 if you travel alone
Location:
Description:

This walking trip takes you along the route of operation Market Garden in the fall of 1944, which started the liberation of the Netherlands. We start in Luyksgestel near the Belgian border and we end in Arnhem. This trip offers you the whole package. We have the wonderful nature of Noord-Brabant and Gelderland, that includes woods, heath, fens and the picturesque countryside in the south. Then there are the hills below Nijmegen, after which we enter the polders and orchards in the last days of the trip. In between you’ll pass through small villages and towns. We also found wonderful routes through the three big cities on the trip, Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. In the hotels you’ll be received hospitably, and you can enjoy some tasty dinners.

Unique:

This trip follows the tracks of operation Market Garden, the combined air- (Market) and land (garden) strike of the allied forces  in this part of the liberation route. The aim was to reach Arnhem in a few days, and from there it would be easier to make a quick push to Germany, since most rivers would have been crossed. Already on your first day, you’ll pass a war cemetery near Valkenswaard where 220 British soldiers are buried. After this you’ll pass along monuments and other cemeteries during the walks. In the descriptions we’ll tell you some stories on what happened in specific places you’ll pass. We’ll give you plenty of time to visit the national Liberation Museum in Groesbeek, which shows you details of the operation. Eventually you will reach Arnhem, where you can enjoy a well-earned rest after a wonderful unique hiking experience

Day to Day

British war cemetery near Valkenswaard

Day 1 Arrival in Valkenswaard

Today you’ll arrive in Valkenswaard, a village to the south of the city of Eindhoven. It is an attractive village, in the middle of woodlands and heath . A good village for a day of cycling or hiking or relaxing on the lively square with its cafe’s.

Nature area the Malpie

Day 2 Luyksgestel - Valkenswaard (18 km)

Our first walk takes you from the originally Belgian village of Luyksgestel back to Valkenswaard. After a short bus ride, we walk into the countryside of Brabant, alternated with some woodland areas. When we reach the forest south of Valkenswaard, we enter the area where the battle really started. At 14:00 more than 300 cannons opened fire at the Germans, who had dug themselves in, just south of Valkenswaard along the road. After that the British tanks start their march towards Valkenswaard. With some setbacks the tanks manage to reach the center of Valkenswaard at 20:00. We’ll pass the Airborne monument and the British War Cemetery, and then we walk into the wonderful nature area of the Malpie, a variation of heath, fens and woodland. In the course of the afternoon we’ll arrive back in Valkenswaard.

River the Dommel near Eindhoven

Day 3 Valkenswaard - Eindhoven (17 km)

On our second day of walking we’ll make our way from Valkenswaard to Eindhoven. You’ll pass the central square of Valkenswaard and will walk out of the village towards the river Dommel. We’ll follow this for a bit and will turn back along the village to an area with woods and fens. You’ll pass between the villages of Waalre and Aalst and will then arrive on the edge of Eindhoven. You’ll walk towards the small river Tongelreep and will follow this, and thus enter the city along one of its green lungs. Before you know it you’re suddenly in the midst of Eindhoven, and you’ll reach your hotel with a view on a nice city park.

On September 18 Eindhoven was freed by mutual attempts from the forces coming from Valkenswaard and the Airborne forces coming from the north. However one day later Eindhoven was bombed once more by the Germans (which is why much of the old city center is missing). After this the battle moved to the north, towards Son, and Eindhoven remained in allied hands, being one of the first towns to be liberated in Holland.

Typical country lane in Brabant

Day 4 Eindhoven Son (20 km)

Today you’ll walk out of Eindhoven onto the countryside of Brabant. We’ll pass though the city center and along the University campus to reach the river Dommel once again, which we’ll follow out of Eindhoven. You’ll pass through the countryside to reach the small village of Nederwetten. Through the nature area Heerendonk – Breugelse Beemden, you’ll walk to the Hamlet Stad van Gerwen, which is located along a canal (the WIlhelminakanaal, named after our former queen). Along this canal you’ll reach Son on quiet gravel roads. In Son we make a little detour along a small river and an Airborne monument before reaching your hotel.

On September 17th there were Airborne landings by the 101st Airborne division to the northwest of Son. The German guns had taken down a lot of planes on their way in, but still enough soldiers made it, to reach the important bridge at Son, only to find out the Germans had destroyed it on their way out. The paratroopers had to wait for the British troops to reach Son by land, so they could start building a temporary bridge. On the 19th and 20th of September, the German forces executed counterattacks to reclaim Son, but the village was held by the British troops. The hotel where you’ll sleep tonight has served as a lodging house for both the German and the British troops. The building was still a monastery back then.

Market Garden monument in Son

Day 5 Son - Veghel (23km)

Today you’ll walk through the woods and over the countryside from Son to Veghel. You’ll start your day with a visit to the monument for paratroopers in Son, after which you’ll enter the woods around Son. After a few kilometers you’ll exit those and enter the countryside. After some country lanes, small roads, and some more monuments for the Airborne divisions, you’ll enter the village of Sint-Oedenrode. Here you’ll walk past the castle, and through the center with many restaurants, and you’ll visit a monument which was actually placed here by the soldiers to thank the local inhabitants for their help. After Sint Oedenrode we continue through the countryside, along the windmill of Eerde and we’ll arrive in the town of Veghel. Along a monument for the Kangaroo’s and the lively market square we’ll arrive in our hotel.

Sint Oedenrode as crucial during operation Market garden, but mainly for the German forces. The allied forces had marched expeditiously through Valkenswaard, Eindhoven and Son, but in their march northwards (Hell’s Highway), they met heavy resistance near Sint Oedenrode. The German Jungwirht battalion succeeded in slowing down the progress with 40 hours. Especially near the bridge over the river Dommel and near the hamlets of Koevering and Eerde there was a bloody battle. The result of this delay was that forces arrived too late and the paratroopers were forced to withdraw from Arnhem, which meant Market Garden did not prove to be a successful operation in the end.

Small stream the Leigraaf near Bedaf

Day 6 Veghel - Bedaf (17 km)

After some rest after yesterday’s long walk, you’ll walk a shorter walk from Veghel to Bedaf, a small hamlet near the town of Uden. You’ll walk out of Veghel quickly to enter the countryside. This is also the area where a lot of strawberries are grown, so in season you may try to find some fresh ones. You’ll pass the village of Mariaheide, and will arrive on a former railway dike, which ran all the way into Germany. This dike brings you to a small stream, the Leigraaf. This is a quiet stream which you’ll follow for a while and where you can unwind and maybe spot some rare birds in the natural embankments of the stream. Then you’ll leave the stream behind and will walk towards nature area the “Bedafse Bergen” (Mountains of Bedaf), a combination of drift-sand, woods and heath, which makes for a wonderful end of your walk, since you’ll reach your hotel shortly hereafter.

You are walking on the corridor between Veghel and Uden, an important part of the route from Eindhoven to Arnhem. The allied forces managed to occupy the corridor swiftly, but on September 22nd, the Germans re-occupied parts of the corridor between Veghel and Uden, which meant that the troops in Uden had been cut off from the other forces. Luckily the Germans feared that resistance of those forces in Uden would be too big, and they did not attempt to recapture Uden itself. This also meant this part of the corridor went back into allied hands shortly after.

Almost in Velp

Dat 7 Bedaf - Velp (21 km)

Today you’ll make a wonderful walk between Bedaf and Velp. You’ll start your day through another part of the Bedafse Bergen, which will bring you immediately to the next nature area, which is the Maashorst. This is the biggest contiguous nature area in Brabant, and you’ll walk through the heath, along fens, and through some woods. You might meet some European Bisons here and some other grazers. After the Maashorst you’ll continue past the village of Zeeland, and then towards the next nature area, being the Reekse Heide (Heath of Reek), which is more forest than heath. This will bring you towards your hotel in the village of Velp.

Today you’ll walk some more in the vicinity of the corridor between Eindhoven and Nijmegen. Your destination today, Velp, was liberated on day 1 of the operation, mainly because it is so close to the bridge at Grave. The conquering of this corridor was a risky plan. A strip of some 60 km in length and not very wide was not easy to defend and the Germans could attack in many places along this corridor, which they did. This delayed the operation so much, that in the end Arnhem was not reached by the ground troops, which meant the operation failed partly.

View from the bridge at Grave

Day 8 Velp - Molenhoek (22 km)

Today you’ll exit Brabant and you’ll enter the province of Gelderland while ending on just a stone’s throw away from the province of Limburg. You’ll exit Velp and through the polders you’ll walk towards the John S. Thompson bridge at Grave. This bridge was an important goal in operation Market Garden. Unfortunately, the biggest part of the battalion that had to take the bridge, was dropped to far away from it, which meant only 17 men were available to capture the bridge. They managed to take the southern part of the bridge, and later that day, the northern part was taken as well. You’ll cross the bridge and then you enter the land between the two rivers (Maas and Waal). After a walk through the polders and along Market Garden landing places you’ll enter the beautiful nature area of the Hatertse Vennen, a combination of heath, fens, and woods. Hereafter you’ll walk through the woods of Heumen and then through the village of Heumen which brings you to the Maas-Waal canal. There were four bridges over this canal, and at least one of these had to be captured during operation Market Garden, which the allied forces managed to do after some heavy fighting. This is exactly the bridge that we cross as well to reach the village of Molenhoek and your hotel.

The Maas-Waal canal near Molenhoek

Day 9 Molenhoek - Groesbeek (12 km) and visit to the liberation museum

Today there is a short walk from Molenhoek to Groesbeek, which means you’ll have plenty of time to visit the National Liberation Museum, which is right next to your hotel in Groesbeek. Your walk starts next to the Maas-Waal canal for a while, after which you cross over to the nature area Mookerheide, which is a combination of forest and heath, and is even a bit hilly! You’ll pass the Mook War Cemetery, and a solitary grave near the church of Mook. After exiting the woods you’ll have a nice view on Groesbeek, and you’ll descend towards the village. After visiting the monument for General Gavin, we’ll walk through the village center of Groesbeek and to your hotel, and the adjacent liberation museum.

In the polders near the river Waal

Day 10 Groesbeek - Nijmegen (17 km)

After a relaxed day with the visit to the museum, you’ll make a wonderful walk to Nijmegen. After a beautiful woodland path you’ll arrive quickly at the beautifully located Canadian War Cemetary. After this impressive intermezzo, you’ll enter some lanes through farm- and woodland to come to a hilly area, where you climb the Duivelsberg (Devil’s mountain). On top there is a wonderful view of the polders and Germany. Then you descend into the polders. You’ll follow a picturesque little stream and will pass the little church of Persingen. Eventually you’ll pass a bird-rich area near the lake Oude Waal, and the suddenly you’re in Nijmegen, and you’ll find your hotel along the river Waal.

Orchard near Elst

Day 11 Nijmegen - Elst

You’ll start your day with a city walk through Nijmegen. You’ll pass the old city hall, some nice squares, and then you’ll descend again towards the river, which you’ll cross in two steps. In the middle you’ll walk on the island Veur Lent for a while. After that you’ll follow the river Waal for a while, with a small walkabout through the Oosterhout estate. Near the white church of Slijk-Ewijk you’ll exit the river and walk into the countryside, which is a mixture of orchards and grasslands here. You’ll pass an area with lakes and through the village of Valburg you’ll reach Elst, where you’ll find your hotel in the town center.

Monument for the Engineers near Arnhem

Day 12 Elst - Arnhem

This is the last stage of this trip, and also the end of the Market Garden operation. You’ll exit Elst into the polders in the land between two rivers. Along some small roads you’ll arrive in the village of Driel, where you can educate yourself on the presence and activities of Polish soldiers during Market Garden. You’ll arrive at the river Rhine, which we’ll follow in the direction of Arnhem. We’ll make some detours off the river dike, and just before Arnhem we’ll pass through the nature area of Meinerswijk, which is a floodplain, where you can find Konik horses and Galloway cows. Eventually we’ll cross the heavily contested John Frost bridge, and through Arnhem city center and several war monuments, you’ll reach your hotel.

At the market

Day 13 Journey home

Today you’ll leave to go back home, or go to your next destination. You can sleep in, or visit some of the sights of Arnhem. You may visit the nearby Airborne museum in the village of Oosterbeek as a nice closure to your trip.

Advice for extension

Extension is possible in a lot of places along this route. This is mainly dependent on your wishes. You can spend some extra time in the big cities, where there are many sights to see and many cafes and restaurants. You can also take a break at a more quiet place, like the nice hotel in Bedaf or the convivial Son, where you might rent a bike and see some more of the environment. Just let us know what you would like to do on your extra day(s), and we can advise you as well.

Prices extension:
City 2 persons 1 person
Valkenswaard 50 90
Eindhoven 60 105
Son 55 95
Vehgel 50 90
Bedaf 50 90
Velp 40 60
Molenhoek 45 75
Groesbeek 40 60
Nijmegen 45 75
Elst 45 75
Arnhem 55 80

This is for one night per person and includes VAT and breakfast (diner is not included).

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