The Zunasche Heide

To the east of the Sallandse Heuvelrug, the area borders the nature area the Zunasche Heide. The plan area for the Zunasche Heide is approximately 130 hectares and used to be part of a large expanse of heathland whereby the higher areas (Sallandse Heuvelrug) were connected to the surrounding lower areas (including the Zunasche Heide).

The Dutch Forest Management Agency and the Province of Overijssel intend to reinstate this connection to increase the habitat of many animal species. An additional task is to restore the soil quality, which will require various measures.

What is happening?

The current, 130-hectare Zunasche Heide used to be part of a large expanse of heathland whereby the higher areas (Sallandse Heuvelrug) were connected to the surrounding lower areas (including the Zunasche Heide). Many plant and animal species need this heather ecosystem with diversity in high, dry areas and lower, wetter places as it provides a suitable habitat. The dry heathland mostly turned into forest over time, and the surrounding wetter heathland was transformed into farmland. This has severely reduced the habitat of many species and disturbed the ecosystem due to an excess of nitrogen.


In order to restore the soil quality and the ‘connection between high and low’, various measures are required:

  1. The wet heathland will be expanded by - among other things - removing waterways and small wooded areas in the central part of Zuna, which will account for about 10% of the entire Zunasche Heide;
  2. Wet heathland will be created in the south-easterly part of the plan area, by removing the nutrient-rich top layer of soil from about 8 hectares of land;
  3. In the south-easterly part, several waterways will be moved or (partly) dewatered;
  4. 10 hectare of natural pastures and 14 hectares of dry grasslands will be developed on the higher transition to the dry heathland (between the Ligtenbergerweg and the Veeneggeweg/Lage Esweg).

We will also seize this opportunity to consult with people in the vicinity on the adaptations needed for better road safety on the Ligtenbergerweg. After all, improvement to road safety will contribute to liveability, recreational opportunities and a reduction in roadkill. Hellendoorn local council will work on this with the local residents.

Current situation

The partners involved are currently working meticulously to define the preparation to the execution of the measures. It has become clear that it is necessary for soil to be excavated from the Zunasche Heide. These measures require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a Provincial Implementation Plan (PIP).

A landscape sketch was made with a group of residents, which roughly shows what the layout of the area will be. We will further specify the landscape sketch over the next period, in preparation for the execution of the work.

Do you have any questions or worries, or is there anything you would like to discuss with us? Please do not hesitate to contact Jacob Heitman, Zunasche Heide project leader. You can contact Jacob on +31 (0)6 53 39 34 72 or via e-mail:

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