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It Bûtefjild Nature Reserve


Walk, cycle and sail in otter territory. It Bûtefjild is a varied landscape of peatland, meadows, reed beds and open water.

The sparse landscape of the It Bûtefjild nature reserve was formed during the Ice Age and later shaped by the impact of peat mining. Glacial and human influences resulted in a hidden gem where much of the land is concealed by reed beds. 

The sound of rustling tells you there are horses nearby while otters can often be seen playing in the pristine water.  Explore the area on foot, by bike, in a canoe, on a stand up paddle board or in an electric boat. Each time you will discover something very different. Enjoy the tranquil views from a canoe. In the quiet you feel that you are alone. But of course you are always accompanied by rare frogs, birds and other wildlife. When the water lilies are in full bloom here it is like being in a painting. 

The landscape of this 319-hectare nature reserve is tremendously varied with wet grasslands, peat pits, swamp forests, extensive reed beds and open water. These different ecosystems provide unique habitat for plants and animals, such as the otters that swim here freely. This undiscovered area is also filled with mysteries that are recounted in local stories

and reflected in strange local place names such Lodde Hel, De Houtwiel and Japmuoiskolk. The ancient villages of Wetterwâlden surround the It Bûtefjild nature reserve like a horseshoe and they in turn are surrounded by water and woods.

The new sailing route through the area is part of the National Ecological Network, which connects the Grutte Wielen nature reserve near Leeuwarden with Lauwersmeer National Park on the border between Groningen and Friesland. (On part of the new sailing route only electric boats are allowed.)

You can enter the It Bûtefjild nature reserve from the De Houtwiel nature reserve (Schwartzenbergloane - Broeksterwald), the Grikelân en Turkije nature reserve (Boskwei - Readtsjerk) and the Grutte Wielen nature reserve (Westerdyk 23 - Ryptsjerk).

You can also hire a boat, canoe or stand up paddle locally and sale into the reserve. 

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