Leenderbos and Groote Heide together consist of almost 5000 acres of nature that attract close to a million visitors each year. The woods – increasingly interspersed with small patches of heathland (part of the efforts of the Dutch Forestry Commission) – consists mainly of conifers. These woods are home to many rare species of birds, including the nightjar, bittern, honey buzzard and kingfisher. The area is also populated by roe deer, foxes, wild boars, hares and rabbits. In the Leenderbos and adjacent Groote Heide there are of course also plenty of hiking and cycling options. What's more, the area has an extensive network of bridle paths that are often also suitable for coaches.
The Molenheide subarea allows dogs to run without leash throughout the year.
There are several signposted hiking routes in the area. A good parking option is the car park at dog-friendly restaurant Capriole. This restaurant is located on the grounds of the Molenberg riding stables: Valkenswaardseweg 29C Leende.
Would you like to camp in the woods? At nature campground Leenderbos you can do just that. This camping place has spacious places for tents, caravans, trailers and campers. Come and lodge with the forester!
The Leenderbos and adjacent Groote Heide, together with the Strabrechtse Heide, form the Heeze-Leende nature reserve, which is managed by the Dutch Forestry Commission.
Until 1930, the Leenderbos forestry area was an extensive area consisting only of heathland, sand drifts and fens. Because the heathland was no longer profitable for farmers, the area was abandoned and neglected. It was then bought by the Dutch Forestry Commission and trees were planted as part of an unemployment relief programme. The Leenderbos was a typical production forest, just as many others elsewhere in the Netherlands.
Although the Leenderbos still yields around 6000 cubics annually, its production function is now subordinated to nature and recreation. There are many hiking, cycling and bridle paths throughout the extensive area. The forests are becoming increasingly varied by interventions of the Forestry Commission, and therefore also more attractive for both visitors and flora and fauna.