Laarbeek is characterized by the many rivers within its borders. With an intersection of the channels Wilhelminakanaal and the South Willemsvaart, the local council presents oneself the Water Gate of region De Peel.
De Biezen and Milschot
An old floodplain with a picturesque mixture of woodland, grassland and some farmland. The woods changes from swampy to dry with oak and birch.
The fields are like 'islands' in the middle of the forest. The poor and flowery grasslands are popularly called the nine meadows.
The entire area drains into the 'snelle loop', which flows out in the River Aa passed Gemert.
Grotelsche Heide, where special cows feed, is mainly a conifer forest. In the north the meandering stream Esperloop is flowing through idyllic meadows. The southern part includes the Aarlesche vijver, a lake of around 5 hectares.
The Esperloop is a rare example of an (upstream of a) relatively well-preserved heather brook of about 2 km with reasonably clean water. This river, that thanks to the Peel Fault has plenty of clean water, is because of the vegetation and hydro-organical of special value.
Landgoed Croy lies between the centres of Aarle-Rixtel, Stiphout and Helmond and the forest area south of Lieshout. It consists of a castle and approximately 210 acres and is owned by the Faith, Hope and Love Foundation, who leases out the land.
Nowadays the area is a remarkably intact whole, which consists of a combination of castle landscape, farmland and still a very open, typical old arable land. The estate is located in the valley of the Goorloop, a river that starts at the Strabrechtse Heide and flows out in the river Aa near Veghel.
The Spanish sheepfold
The croy estate was first mentioned in 1472, and it consisted of a little castle with a farm and about 20 acres of land. Over the years, the estate still extended, until it was owned by the familily Van Brugghen in 1772. Johan Karel Gideon van Brugghen expanded further with the farmlands on Kruisschot, and reached its current size of about 210 ha.
He was also a passionated sheep farmer and merino sheep came over from Spain specially for improving the local Kempische sheep. He build the Spaanse Schop behind the castle, a traditional Spanish sheepfold. The orginal herd of Rambouillet-merino sheep is reinstated and graze around the castle.
King Willem 1st wanted to connect the industrial area of Liege with the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. That is why he ordered the construction of the South Willemsvaart. In 1824 this channel, with a length of 122½ km, was completed.
A canal that was built to connect Liege (Belgium) to the port city of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. It has meant a lot for the development of Beek en Donk.
Relax along the canal and enjoy the small and big boats pass by.
The Eyckenlust estate
The castle and the Eyckenlust estate feel a bond with the village Beek en Donk. It is in possession of family De Jong van Beek en Donk since 1745. The laying of the canal Zuid-Willemsvaart cut through the estate, which was at that time also situated on the Westside of the canal.
The castle moat and the gate building date back to the 18th century. The main building, visible through the gate, has been thoroughly rebuilt in the 19th century. Various (monumental) farms belong to the estate and are rented or leased.