Zeeparkduinen in De Panne becomes nature reserve


The 10-hectare Zeeparkduinen domain, on the border of the coastal municipalities of De Panne and Sint-Idesbald, was recently declared a nature reserve. Biodiversity will get more and more opportunities there in the future.  

If you take the Koninklijke Baan (N34) in De Panne towards Koksijde, the coastal road called Nieuwpoortlaan there, you will notice a high wooded verge on the left just outside the conurbation. Behind it hides a patch of dunes of some 10 hectares that runs into the North Sea. As recently as 1976, this spot was zoned for residential recreation due to the presence of Camping Zeepark. That closed permanently in 2016. Recently, building plans for holiday accommodation and a hotel have also been scrapped. 

The decision was motivated by the preservation and restoration of open space, and particularly a dynamic shifting dune landscape. The Zeepark dunes provide natural protection against sea floods and retain seeping precipitation water, forming a bubble of fresh groundwater that prevents salinisation of the hinterland. All very important with global warming. In fact, since 2016, the flora and fauna have already improved quite a bit. Typical dune plants like blue sea holly, sea buckthorn and others are back and the very rare crested lark is breeding there again. Once Zeeparkduinen and the nearby 90-hectare nature reserve Houtsaegerduinen and Kerkepannebos are connected, hikers will also be able to experience nature much more intensively.