From the village of Erps-Kwerps you can stroll through the Silsombos deciduous woodland and then across the open fields of the Dorenveld.
If there was a knock-out competition to find the strangest village name in Europe, Erps-Kwerps would get into the semi-finals, at least. It’s not the first time that I’ve covered this place. So if you want to know a little more about Erps-Kwerps and how to pronounce it, check this post. This walk is pleasant and varied. It’s 11 km but because it follows the wonderful numbered walking nodes network, it’s very easy to extend or shorten.
The small village of Erps-Kwerps is a fusion of two even smaller hamlets of Erps and Kwerps. Starting point is the centre of Erps, where there’s plenty of car parking space. By public transport, you can get to Erps-Kwerps railway station which is on the main Brussels-Leuven line. Unfortunately, despite its name, the railway station is not located anywhere close to either Erps or Kwerps. You’ll therefore need to walk a further 2.4 km to the starting point. A shorter alternative (1.5. km) is if you walk from the station to Kwerps village and get on the route there. By bus, there is a much more convenient bus stop at the delightfully tongue-twisting Erps-Kwerps Erps Kerk. You’ll have some fun telling the bus-driver where you want to get off! Depending on where you’re starting from, De Lijn buses 352, 358 and 652 go there. I hope you are not now totally confused with your Erps’s and Kwerps’s! Here’s the map of the route.
Actually I’m going to give you two maps. As Erps-Kwerps railway station is so remote, the map below is of a walk that starts and ends at the railway station but covers most of the walk on the first map. It’s shortened a little, but still comes in at 14 km. You can find the GPX tracks on my RouteYou pages for the first one and the second one.
So you can take your choice of starting point, travel mode to destination, and even route, because as I say, the whole area has the numbered junctions which makes it easy to customize your route.
What is there to see on the walk?
The walk starts from the Sint-Amandus church in Erps. It was completed in 1864, although bits and bobs (that’s probably not the correct ecclesiastical term) are from much earlier, like the baptismal font (1724) and organ (1752).
Who was Saint Amandus, I hear you say? Good question. Also known as Amand (584-679), he was a bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the great Christian missionaries of Flanders. If you read the comments on my blog posts you may have seen one from Carol, The Eternal Traveller, on my last post. When I mentioned that Saint Anthony was the patron saint of pigs, Carol pointed out that there must be a patron saint for just about everything. Indeed there probably is Carol. Saint Amandus is no slouch when it comes to patronization. Apparently he is the patron saint of all who produce beer: brewers, innkeepers and bartenders. He is also the patron of vine growers, vintners and merchants. And – wait for it – of Boy Scouts! Now that’s quite a list. I think Saint Amandus is just greedy. How he keeps all those plates spinning, I just don’t know.
Anyway, the walk leads you around the back of Erps by a pleasant and little-known footpath.
I’ve covered the Silsom Woods in this separate post. It’s looking particularly winsome at this time of the year:
If you’re a bit stuck when it comes to identifying wild flowers, help is at hand. You can download my free little e-guide to 10 Early Spring Flowers to Look For.
After exploring the Silsombos the route leads you to Nederokkerzeel; another tiny village with a huge church. If you are ready for some refreshments, in the village is De Zes Linden.
Then it’s into the fields of Dorenveld. This is an extensive open expanse of largely arable land although it has some pastures where horses live, and some areas are left wild. It’s an interesting area and one of my favourite places for an early morning cycle ride. I’m always surprised at the wildlife in the Dorenveld. During migration periods in Spring and Autumn it’s a resting/feeding spot for migrating birds. And throughout the year you never know what you might come across. I’ve seen foxes and hares, buzzards, kestrels, partridges, great white egrets, ospreys, stonechats, wheatears. In the Spring you will be acccompanied by singing skylarks, while nesting lapwings are kept busy scaring off marauding crows.
The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted an air traffic control tower in the picture above. It belongs to Brussels Airport which is only a couple of kilometers away. This means that incoming planes will at times pass right over your head while you’re walking on the Dorenveld. Unless you are exceptionally tall, they shouldn’t be a problem.
As always, if you have any questions about this or any other walks on my blog, just drop me a line.
With the weather improving, are you wondering where to take the children/grandchildren for some outdoor fun? Did you know I have produced an eBook listing over 550 Children’s Outdoor Activities in Belgium?
And finally, if you’re not yet subscribed to Discovering Belgium, now’s your chance:
What a pretty walk and even more so when the spring flowers are starting to bloom. I’m not surprised to hear that there is a patron saint for those who brew. I’ll tell Mr ET. He’ll be pleased to know Amandus is looking over his shoulder and helping his homebrew along its way. 🙂
Maybe Amandus could be the name of his next brew?
I’ll tell him!