The name Grathem means "house on a rock". Grat means bone and refers to a sandy height in the landscape. Hem means 'heem', which means house.
After a rainy period, the paths on this "sandy height" can be quite wet. So wear sturdy shoes.
The route starts at junction 70 on the Markt.
You walk in the direction of junction 80. Soon you leave the built-up area. To the right of the route lies the meandering Uffelsebeek.
On Kapittelsbos and Grathemer Molen
After a 10 minute walk you reach farm Op Kapittelsbos. The name of this former mixed farm refers to the time when the farm and its surroundings fell under the administration (kapittel) of Thorn. The farm, which has been owned by members of the same family for generations, has been transformed by the current owners into a recreational and cultural farm with landscape garden.
Via the bank of the Uffelsebeek, you walk towards the Grathemer mill. Traces of food and a real fortress show that a large family of beavers is enjoying itself here.
Wild stream water flows past the wheel of the Grathemer Mill.
As early as the 14th century there is talk of a water mill on the Uffelsebeek. The rights to this mill belonged to the Stift van Thorn. After the mill had been owned by noble families for several centuries, it was sold in 1872 to the then lessee. In 1874, the tenant restored the mill to its current appearance. In 1915, a steel turbine was installed to drive the mill. This turbine was also used to generate electricity for part of Grathem. The mill is still fully grinding. At times when the mill is turning, it can be visited freely. Please do think twice before asking the miller any questions. The text on a chalkboard teaches us that you have to pay 1 euro for answering silly questions.
Great (old) Buggenum and Prof. Helmut Hentrich
You leave the mill and cross the Brugstraat. After a few minutes, you will see Groot Buggenum Castle on your right. Or is it in fact "Oud Buggenum", as an information board along the route indicates. The first mention of a castle at this spot dates back to 1329. Until 1880 the castle was owned by nobles and was destroyed several times by fire or war.
Merchant Willem Verbruggen from Grathem had the old house demolished and erected the present building in 1886. Partly due to acts of war in the Second World War, the castle fell into serious disrepair. In 1971, the German architect Professor Helmut Hentrich bought the ruin and rebuilt it in its present form. "It should live," said the professor. And it does. The castle can be visited by appointment and if you have something to celebrate, this is a beautiful, romantic location.
You walk on. You may see an inland barge sliding through the landscape right in front of you. You are approaching the Wessem-Nederweert Canal.
For a while you go parallel to the canal and then bend down again to look for the bank of the brook. Here too, there are traces of intensive beaver life. Information boards along the stream tell you about the rich flora and fauna in and near the stream.
On the Prof. Hentrichpad you cross a meadow and go via Brugstraat to the starting point of the route.