Did you know that the Wadden Islands are not the only place in the Netherlands where you can go mudflat walking? The Sophia Polder is a relatively new nature reserve near Dordrecht in South Holland. At low tide the polder is dry and is perfect for rugged mudflat hiking trips.
Sophia Island has 77 hectares of land and floods regularly because of the low dikes.
Sophia Polder guided hiking trips
Mudflat walking is only allowed with a forester. Nature conservation organisation Zuid-Hollands Landschap offers guided mudwalking excursions for adults and kids from 9 years old.
Saturday 26 May 10.00-12.00
Saturday 8 July 12.00-14.00
Saturday 8 September 12.00-14.00
Visit Sophia Polder on your own
Nobody lives here and the island in the middle of the busy tidal river Noord can only be reached by pedestrian ferry. Walk across ramps and paths and experience the isolated island feeling.
The viewpoint on the south side of the island offers a beautiful view of the riverfront of the historic city of Dordrecht. From the east side of the island you can see many ships pass by enroute to Rotterdam or Antwerp.
Foto arie baldee. Zomer op de #sophiapolder @ZHLandschap @ZHLeilanden @gemeentehia pic.twitter.com/DQNyxsIUcr
— Rik Hindriks (@RikHindriks) 26 juni 2016
Bird watchers’ paradise
The freshwater tidal flats are full of birds. Bird lovers can spot around 25 bird species including Canadian geese, seagulls and wadering birds like spoonbills, godwits, avocets and redshanks. From the birdwatching hut in the middle of the island you can see the incoming and outgoing water.
The free ferry to Sophia Island can take up to 11 passengers and leaves from Veersedijk 301 in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. The crossing takes 5 to 10 minutes. The ferry does not sail in case of dense fog or thunderstorms. The ferry is operated by volunteer skippers.
Ferry times March to October
• Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 12.00-17.00
• Extra services on Thursday 10 May (Ascension Day) 12.00-17.00
• Extra service on Monday 21 May (Whit Monday) 12.00-17.00
No ferry service from November to February
Good to know
• Sophia Island is free accessible
• Don’t forget to bring your own lunch or snacks as there are no restaurants or cafetarias
• There is no toilet on the island
• Dogs and bicycles are not allowed
• Take your binoculars
Did you know that freight trains run 25 meters below Sophia Island? The Sophia Railway Tunnel is over 8km long and part of the Betuweroute between Rotterdam and Germany.
Gisteren was de Vroege vogelexcursie in de #sophiapolder. Wat een sfeertje! pic.twitter.com/dJhm0wE3AG
— Maarten van der Valk (@falconaumanni78) 4 oktober 2015