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Hiking in Wallonia: the ‘Vallée des Fées’

  • Walking or hiking

The walk starts quietly and links the beautiful Vallée des Fées with the romantic, wild Vallée du Martin-Moulin. The return journey, more adventurous, follows a small, twisting path scattered with bare roots and stones, offering splendid views on the Achouffe valley.

Here and there you have to put your weight on bare rocks, and cross fords by leaping from one stone to another. At other points you can admire some beaver dams; otters can also be spotted in this valley. The second part of the trail takes you out of the valley to higher ground with magnificent views over Achouffe. A little later, the route becomes wild and adventurous. A narrow path leads to two viewpoints before you return to the bottom of Vallée du Martin-Moulin to begin the return journey. The icing on the cake: a visit to the charming Achouffe Brasserie.

The trail is about 10 km and takes 4 hours.

Route/Points of Interest

  • The first stage of the trail is well signposted and easy to follow. After leaving the car park (S) follow the main road and take the first road on the right after the chapel.
  • Pass a pond, then head towards a large building. The route goes past this building and leads to the other side of the Chevral valley, with its sprinkling of badger dams. It’s also known as the mystic ‘Vallée des Fées’ or Fairies valley.
  • Follow the path along the stream. After about 1km, two bridges (1) follow one after the other – take care as you cross them! After the second bridge, a steep, narrower path passes through a broom embankment and then a pine forest.
  • This woodland soon ends and the trail continues on the main road across the bare higher ground.
  • Before descending to the other side of the Vallée du Martin-Moulin you pass through another patch of pine forest. The descent, amongst numerous bare roots and wet rocks, is steep and challenging.
  • Down in the valley, pass the windmill (2) on the left and follow the course of the stream.

The next part of the trail is undoubtedly the most interesting section of all. It goes up and down along narrow passages amongst roots and rocks until the path widens again to return to Achouffe alongside some former fish ponds. Although short (approx 6km/2.5 hours) this section is demanding. For those who want to savour the outstanding scenery you can add four kilometres and some height to the walk by following the ridge or the stony path.

  • After the information panel to the left of the tavern (3) a small, well-signed trail (blue rectangle on a white background with a blue T) climbs through meadows where cows and horses graze. At the top you’re rewarded with a superb view of the Achouffe Valley.
  • The path then widens to become a country road which forks at the top and goes back down the hill to the left.
  • A few hundred metres further on, a small path turns to the left before the descent, then climbs steeply once more towards a small viewpoint overlooking the valley carved out by the Bellemeuse stream.
  • Don’t worry about orientation here because there’s only one path to follow. Before reaching the ‘Les Brûles au Grand Sart’ viewpoint, the path drops down a little before climbing again as it enters the valley.
  • Take care on the last descent: the ground can get slippery in damp conditions.
  • Once at the bottom, keep to the left until you pick up the trail 100 metres further on.
  • Walk alongside the Martin stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge (5) keep left, pass through the forest, and follow the straight unmarked path above a large meadow to return to Achouffe.

Prepare your walk

Make sure you wear good hiking boots and comfortable walking shoes. Be careful if it has been raining: some of the walk downs can be slippery and tiring. A walking stick will also help for the way up. Spikes might be of help in winter.

Always take some snacks and water with you.

Author’s Tips

A must: taste the international, award winning Achouffe beers at the brasserie bar. There are eight varieties, including seasonal beers with their dwarf mascot, to choose from. In fine weather, there’s nothing better than a stroll through picturesque Houffalize.

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

If you were to draw a straight line on an atlas northward from the Massif Central in France to the North Pole, the only area of high ground the line crosses is the Ardennes, shared between Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany – but mainly belonging to Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium!

Information on the walk

Difficulty

Hard

Length

Minimum distance9.1 Km
The information provided is an indication only. We advise you to inquire directly with the organisers of the event that interests you before you leave.