Relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Swim in the lake. Feel like a pirate on a pirate ship. Build your own sand castle. Go for a run around the lake. Walk along meadows, forests, and beaches. Or try to spot a roe deer, tawny owl, or Eurasian hobby with binoculars…
It’s all possible in and around the Henschotermeer: a unique swimming pool with white Caribbean beaches in the middle of the most beautiful forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
In a certificate of Charlemagne, the donation of a number of “foreesten” to the St. Martin’s Church in Trecht is mentioned, including “Hengestooten” (777 AD). In the Middle Ages, this rough terrain (mostly heath) belonged to the common grounds of thee Marke Maarn.
In part due to overcrowding of cattle, large sand sprays formed in this area.
The drift sand formed a threat to the road between Zeist and Woudenberg, so it was decided to cover the entire drift sand area with heather sods (1895; those sods were applied on the Leusderhei). Young pine trees were planted between these heather sods in order to fixate the sand and provide later wood production.
The prior sand drifts can still be recognised by the fine white sand and the dust hills, which are now covered with coniferous and deciduous trees.
Many different species of animals live here, such as roe deer, hares, foxes, black woodpeckers, tawny owls, and Eurasian hobbies.
The trees cut and the sand extracted
During the mobilisation period (around 1939), trees were cut and sand was extracted in the area. This sand, together with the released wood, was used to construct the scaffolds in the Grebbe line between Woudenberg and Leusden. What remained was a water body with a size of approximately 3 hectares.
Due to the increasing mobility and the associated changes in leisure activities, this lake attracted an increasing number of visitors in the early 1960s.
Problems relating to hygiene and road safety caused the Vereniging de Utrechtse Heuvelrug, in close consultation with the landowner of the Den Treek–Henschoten estate, to develop a plan that provided for a recreational lake with a capacity of approximately 10,000 visitors per day. This assignment was granted to Koninklijke Nederlandse Heidemaatschappij, which realised the plan in 1972.
The Henschotermeer now has a surface area of 60 hectares. This includes 13 hectares of water, 10 hectares of drift sand, and 30 hectares of forest.
The water in the lake stays level because the groundwater rises in multiple places. Sometimes, additional groundwater is pumped up mechanically. Due to the self-cleaning ability of the water, the quality remains good and pollution is quickly broken down.