Birds and Forts route
The Wormer- and Jisperveld are among the richest meadow bird areas in Europe. Especially the Schaalsmeerpolder is known for the large number of black-tailed godwits, curlews and oystercatchers that breed here. The 44km cycling route also passes a number of forts. The route.
Fort Spijkerboor is the largest and most modern fort of the Defence Line of Amsterdam: the defence structure surrounding the capital. Flooding of the land (inundation) was used as the main weapon to stop the enemy. A ring of forts behind the inundationzone would prevent enemy troops from gettin to higher ground.
The junction of canals and dykes near Spijkerboor was clearly a weak spot in the defence line. Hence, an extra strong and large fort was built with two floors and an armored rotary dome with guns. If you want to know what the fort looks like on the inside and how it was used during times of war and peace, you can try one of the special excursions. Visit the website of Natuurmonumenten for more information about the activities.
Fort aan de Jisperweg / Fort aan de Middenweg
Cycling along the dike you will pass some bushes that stand out in the middle of the open, tightly parceled land of the Beemster. It is the willow, poplar and hawthorn clad ramparts of Fort aan de Jisperweg and Fort aan de Middenweg. Two small forts of the Amsterdam Defence Line that Natuurmonumenten manages as a nature reserve. The Fort aan de Jisperweg is opened once every five years for the public, the other fort is rented and therefore inacccessible.
Meadow birds are birds that breed in the pasture or forage for food during the breeding season. Known species are lapwing, godwit, redshank, ruff, snipe, oystercatcher, garganey and avocet. All of these species, and more, live in the Wormer- and Jisperveld. The wide variety of birds is due to the sophisticated management of the Natuurmonumenten which they have pursues for decades. The soil is kept wet by little Zaanse meadow mills which lets extra water in when necessary. In the wet soft soil birds find worms, larvae and insects. To stimulate the liveliness of the soil, every spring manure with straw is being put on the land. Together with grazing by a limited amount of cattle, this creates a swamy, wobbly grasland where the meadow birds can manage well.