- Walking or hiking
Two hikes start from the Fondry des Chiens - one is 3 km, the other 12. The picturesque limestone cliffs of this area are sure to mesmerise you, let alone the river walk featured in the second part.
Provence comes to mind
The chalk grasslands around the Roche Trouée and the Fondry des Chiens give the location an almost Provençal look in spring and summer. The sheep and goats grazing here also give the impression that one’s crossing a Mediterranean landscape. The region, with its limestone cliffs, rare plants and heat-loving animals, is of great biological and geological interest. From its high ground and western viewpoints, you get a wonderful vista over the region.
The second section of the walk alternates pleasingly between tree-clad hills and open country. First you cross fields, then a wood, before arriving at a superb viewpoint. After la Roche aux Faucons the view extends far to the west in the direction of Olloy, before the trail drops down towards the river. The route follows the fluvial countryside of Viroin until shortly before Dourbes, which sits among the ruins on a steep cliff, before continuing on a wooded crest to return to the departure point.
Route/Points of Interest
- Above the car park (S) with the information panel (Nordic walking course), follow route No 1 with a green panel (3.1km).
- First retrace your steps for several metres into the lane, then turn right into the wood and go right again after several metres as far as a sheep meadow.
- At this point it’s possible to climb over a temporary enclosure, which it follows as far as a gate
- After this it turns left towards a cereal field, then climbs gently to the summit of the following hill. The trail then continues straight ahead to the geological site of the Roche Trouée (1), just beside the N99.
- The path climbs behind the rock formation. Having arrived at the high ground, walk along the crest to the western viewpoint (2), where you can push on with the climb.
- From there, first go back a little along the same track. The signage directs you downhill to the left into a small, sparse wood to return to the cereal field.
- Past the gate, the path climbs steeply before turning left alongside a slope. Again it climbs sharply as far as a T-junction just before the site of the Fondry des Chiens (3).
- The trail encircles the site in an arc to enable you to discover several viewpoints with an information panel and a bench.
- Having toured the site, the signs direct you away from the main trail after a few metres to rejoin a path which leads to the meadow and its sheep.
- After a good 500 metres, the path turns sharply to the left into the undergrowth to return after a few minutes to the car park.
There, you can extend the excursion of 8.6 kilometres by following the blue route towards Dourbes. This route leads to the ‘Roche aux Faucons’ viewpoint (4), to the banks of the Viroin, and returns to the departure point by describing a loop with a view over Dourbes and the castle ruins. All the alternative Nordic walking routes are marked on the information panel and the very good waymarkers.
Prepare your walk
Make sure you wear good hiking boots and comfortable walking shoes. A walking stick will also help. Be careful on the climb up and at the view point.
Always take some snacks and water with you. Please note there is no café nor restaurant along the trail.
Make a detour through the neighbouring village of Mariembourg and the Brasserie des Fagnes, which produces a regional beer. The limestone architecture in and around Vierves-sur-Viroin is especially interesting. With its lanes and its château, this place ranks among the most beautiful villages of the region (www.beauxvillages.be).
In the downloadable brochure below, we have selected one of the best walks per province: natural gems, family friendly paths, memorable views along the way, trails sprinkled with history… One even will introduce you to the iconic abbey beers.
A walker's guide to Wallonia