Discover a selection of walks to enjoy in Walloon Brabant here.
Que vous soyez amateur ou randonneur confirmé, le Brabant wallon vous propose une multitude de balades.
“The Baroness” in the Bois des Rêves
On this 2.6km walk, you will discover the various woodland areas of the Bois des rêves, including different variants of beech wood on the “summits” and sections of alluvial woodland below.
The name of this trail refers to the history of the Parc de l’Étoile Château, which once overlooked the Bois des Rêves. Also known as the “château branlant” (rickety château), it was built by Baroness Louise de Marcq de Tiège and her husband Alphonse de Thomaz de Bossierre, burgomaster of Ottignies, in the Parc de l’Étoile in 1912. The château is now gone, but the name of this trail reminds us of its history.
The walk follows the Chavée de la Sablière, a sunken lane that slopes upwards (in particular, one 340m stretch climbs 29m), in a beech wood that also contains a few pedunculate oaks and sycamore maples. The roots of some of the oaks are holding up the slopes of these paths. It’s often a beautiful place to take photographs. In the past, operators from the Franquenies brickworks would take their raw material from the sand quarry using wheelbarrows and horses.
The walk continues along the Chemin des Pouillot Siffleurs (Wood Warbler Way), so keep an eye out for birds. The wood warbler is the largest of the warblers. You can identify it by its bright yellow eyebrow stripe.
You will then take the Chemin du Lac, which sometimes follows route 55 of the nodal point network (Louvain-la-Neuve - Ottignies) or runs alongside the Ry Angon and Malaise streams. On your way back down, look to your left and you will see the Crahaux spring, from which locals used to draw water. The presence of toads and medicinal plants (mint, sedge, elder) and the strange atmosphere in this place gave rise to a legend about witches, “Li Vallaye des Crawaux”. While you’re there, discover a Walloon phrase that was repeated several times.
Before returning towards the Bois des Rêves pond you will pass close to the dog area. This fenced area is open every day, allowing dogs to be let off the leash. All dogs are welcome, provided they are friendly, up to date with their vaccinations and micro-chipped. Dog owners must clean up after their dogs.
This walking route is marked (red). It has a climb of 39 metres and a descent of 52 metres. The highest point is at 125 metres. The IBP index for walking this route is 15. The IBP index for running this route is 22.
The IBP index is an automatic system for assessing the difficulty of a route for mountain biking, road biking, hiking or running. This index is very useful for finding out and comparing the difficulty of different trails.
Further information on the IBP index can be found here: www.ibpindex.com/index.php/en/
The Bois des Rêves is accessible for people with reduced mobility, but the walk is difficult at points so they must be accompanied. The trails are sandy and gravelled, and certain weather conditions may cause them to become muddy or dusty.
The Bois des Rêves also offers a playground, a fishing pond and a brasserie (depending on the current opening times). Wooden statues by woodcarver Dominique Gillis can be found at various points around the Bois des Rêves. Other activities are organised by the Water and Fountain Museum (Musée de l’eau et de la fontaine: +32 (0)470 67 20 55). The Bois des Rêves is also home to the Birds Bay centre (wild animal hospital: +32 (0)495 31 14 21).
A green paradise spread over 67 hectares in which you can discover nature, walk and relax. More than 14 km of signposted paths are a joy to everyone who comes for a walk. All year round children between the age of 3 and 13 years can play in a large playground. Fitness-track (1,500 m) and health trail for disabled. Barbecue upon request. Accessible for people with reduced mobility.
The Water and Fountain Museum is currently an outdoor museum, undergoing transition. Part of its collection can be viewed for free in the Bois des Rêves provincial estate.The museum invites classes and families to discover the wonders of water, the source of life... Listen for the babbling of the fountains in the “Fountain Enclosure”, opened for the museum’s 30th anniversary. You will learn how everything works such as the pumps, wells, Archimedes’ screw and other machines related to water.