Some hiking ideas in Picardy Wallonia, including a delightful and child-friendly walk starting from the village of Ellezelles
Picardy Wallonia is the name given to the area east of Brussels; a triangle located between Lille, Mons and Courtrai. The tourist board is keen to promote Picardy Wallonia as a really good area for cycling and walking, amongst other things. If you want some ideas of fixed walking routes in the area, go here. If you’re going to be on two wheels, go here.
I chose to make my own route from the hiking node network in a particular sub-area called the Pays de Collines (the hilly country). It includes the villages of Ellezelles, Flobecq, Frasnes-lez-Anvaing and Mont-de-l’Enclus. Observant readers with a good memory may remember that I’ve been walking in this area before: around Frasnes-lez-Anvaing.
THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL!
Having designed my own 15 km walk, I drove to Ellezelles and parked in the village centre. Leaving the village I soon discovered that part of my route followed “La Sentier de l’Etrange” (The Weird Footpath). This is a 6-km walk featuring all sorts of strange and apparently mythical creations by Belgian folk art sculptor Jacques Vandewattyne, aka “Watkyne.”
I thought the walk and the sculptures was a great idea. Children in particular will I am sure enjoy going from one to the next. I could foresee some fun photos. Why not send me one and I would be happy to include it here?
THE REST OF THE WALK
On the whole, I enjoyed the route I had chosen. As you can see from the photos, the area is pleasant and slightly undulating, and certainly was attractive to walk through.
However, the route I had chosen wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. This is entirely my fault. I selected to walk on parts of the Ravel. This is a cycle path that follows the old railway line through the region. The Ravel is great for cyclists, but it’s of less interest to walkers as it’s dead straight and on asphalt. With a bit more thought I could have chosen parts of the walking node network that incorporate more footpaths over fields and through woods.
In the map you can see the (blue) route I took. I indicate where the Ravel is that you might want to avoid, and I suggest other areas that might be worth exploring instead.
You’ll notice that all my photos are 50 shades of grey. The weather forecast was for a cloudy, misty and fairly chilly early morning with a temperature of 12°C. But the weatherman promised that the sun would soon burn up the clouds so that by noon the temperature would be 20°C, and later up to 24°C.
So I dressed for the forecast: shorts and T-shirt. A big mistake! The sun never appeared! Consequently, I shivered my way through the 15 km. By the time I had finished and reached the car again at 5 p.m., the temperature had indeed risen – but only to 13°C! I was not amused.
Thankfully I met some amusing creatures on the way: