A wooden bicycle path on stilts

Boardwalk and soil transplant should resolve the problematic dossier of Badger Grove.
The bus lane and the boardwalk on the right. Illustration WUR

The controversial bicycle path along the bus lane between Aurora and the west side of the campus might still yet be constructed. WUR is trying to find a solution with a plan that includes a wooden boardwalk, replanting trees and restoring the old woodland. The plan combines repairing the damage already done and constructing a bicycle path and a walking path.

The bicycle path along the bus lane on the north side now comes to an abrupt stop at Aurora. Once there, students help bicyclists to cross the bus lane. That situation reflects the impasse between WUR and ‘Mooi Wageningen’, which is using everything at its disposal to prevent the construction of the bicycle path. According to this nature club, such a construction would be at the expense of a special piece of cultural heritage.


WUR ecologist Wieger Wamelink is at the forefront of the proposed solution. The solution is based on repair, said Wamelink. “The core of the problem is the woodland that has been destroyed. We’re going to repair the original ground by excavating the dirt now there and replacing it with soil from Beaver Grove. This will also repair the grid structure of Beaver Grove, where the small ditches are gradually becoming clogged.”

The grids are the slight mounds with trees between the ditches. Wamelink: “This was once a wet area, so wet that agriculture was impossible. The ditches were dug to drain the water. This structure dates back to the 18th century. This is the only grid woodland in the area that has been somewhat preserved. When the bus lane was constructed, some of those ditches were filled in. We plan to restore them as much as possible.”

A bicycle and walking path on stilts will be constructed on the repaired soil. Wamelink says that it will be a bridge hovering about 10 centimetres above the ground. The boardwalk will be about 50 metres long and will consist of a 3.5-metre-wide bicycle path and an adjacent 1.5-metre-wide walking path. At the halfway point there will be a bench and an information pillar explaining the history of Beaver Grove and the bicycle path.

Living lab

Trees will be replanted along the path. Cutting down the trees initiated Mooi Wageningen’s protest. Since then the parties involved and the province have been bickering about the bicycle path, the destroyed woodland and the obligation to replant. “This is an offer intended to satisfy everyone,” said Wamelink. “It’s also in line with the campus because it’s a sort of living lab. Transplanting soil on this scale hasn’t been done very often. We’re going to monitor the results.”

The plan still has to meet with the approval of the municipal council. Wamelink is optimistic about support from ‘Mooi Wageningen’. If the plan is approved, the bicycle path on the other side of the bus lane will be replaced by a road. This road will be the western entry point for vehicles coming to the campus. By the way, only WUR personnel with an access pass will be able to use this entry.

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