For day three of my weekend in the Ardennes, my destination was the Forêt du Pays de Chimay
The French title sounds so much more enticing than the English – Forest of the Land of Chimay. But in whatever language, this forest hike is a delight. Especially in the middle of a hot summer when the trees provide much-needed shade and coolness.
However, when I first did this walk it was in the early spring when I was in this area for three days. If you have been following me, you will know that I spent the night in an eco-cabin in the middle of nowhere. The goal was to see the stars without the normal light pollution. Well, the previous evening was completely overcast. Ever the optimist, I set my alarm for 5 a.m., got dressed, went outside … and it was still overcast. Not a single star was visible.
A shame, but resisting the temptation to go back to bed, I went for a pre-dawn local walk. Total darkness, total silence, apart from the rasping of cows munching their breakfast grass (do they ever stop eating?) and the distant hoots of tawny owls.
DAWN BREAKS IN THE FOREST
It was well worth the effort. As dawn broke, and the sun tried its hardest to break through the cloud cover, crossing a forest ride in front of me was an amazing sight. Not just one, nor two, but NINE adult wild boar! They were strung out in a line, like a hunting party of Tolkien’s orcs. A magnificent sight; unfortunately too dark to photograph. After a hearty breakfast, I packed up, picked up my lunch and drove off to my starting point on Rue Jericho to the south of Chimay.
WALKING AROUND CHIMAY
I had selected a 21 km route of Chimay ADEPS, which is a sports association in Wallonia. Below is the map, which you can download as A PDF here. You can get the GPX track from my RouteYou page.
The morning was still cloudy, but thankfully the clouds had run out of rain.
Soon I was into the forest, first on a stony road:
And then a series of narrow, winding and attractive footpaths:
After a couple of hours of pleasant forest walking I was pleased to come out into the open air, particularly as the sun had finally broken through, and for the first time since Friday I began to feel warm!
An interesting looking village beckoned:
It was Seloignes, a typical Ardennes village with plenty of pretty stone buildings of various sizes:
Next stop was a small lake outside Seloignes:
and then it was back into the forest:
While walking along and minding my own business, my attention was caught by some brown amidst the greenery alongside the path. Going closer I was very surprised to find:
A ROE DEER!
It was so still, that at first I thought it was dead, but as I got closer it lifted its head. I walked right up to it and it didn’t run away so thought it was injured. But despite examining it thoroughly, there were no external wounds or broken bones. I tried to lift it onto its feet but it just had no strength to stand.
From the photo it looks like a small, young deer, but it was actually quite large and heavy. I know that female deer (hinds) find a sheltered spot to be quiet when they are about to give birth. However, this happens in May-June, not August.
So it was a complete mystery. I can only assume it was sick. I had no option but to leave it where it was, and hope it recovered or died quickly without suffering.
The rest of the walk proved uneventful. Altogether this route was a lovely combination of forest paths, rural lanes, pretty villages, a lake, and some lovely views.
MY OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION IN CHIMAY
Another cabin, but this time a lakeside cabin. Basic, but very peaceful, and I got some great views of a kingfisher at the end of the lake.
VISIT THE CHIMAY EXPERIENCE
Of course, Chimay wouldn’t be Chimay without mentioning Chimay beer and cheese. I didn’t have time to visit, but the Chimay Experience sounds ideal for anyone wanting to find out more about these local products.
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Thanks for taking me with you on this delightful walk!
Thanks for accompanying me Andrew.
I agree, a wonderful walk. Boy, when they say “lakeside” they’re not kidding, that’s great. Lovely countryside and some handsome stone buildings, I’m curious about that church – – don’t think I’ve ever seen such a truncated-looking steeple. Perhaps steeple is the wrong word, how about minimaleeple.
That’s because some guys from Waterloo Seneca kept pinching the stones and building Cobble Assemblages, Robert! 🙂
What a clean and respected environment.
This walk looked much more enjoyable than the previous day, and I like this cabin. Talk about waterfront views!
Yes it was a peaceful place, despite no running water, no shower, just a coffee maker! ::)
Well, you got the most important thing!! 🙂
Your walks and accommodations are never boring. 🙂
Thanks Judy, (I leave the boring bits out!)
Isn’t it wonderful when the sun breaks through, however watery at first, after a good downpour? Hope that deer was ok. 🙂 🙂
Absolutely, I felt a different person. Yes, I often wonder what happened to the deer.
I do hope this comment doesn’t go to spam like my comment has on your other lovely blog…ðŸ¤”
This looks and sounds just spectacular. The animals you met and you really got me with the image of the Roe deer…what a difficult decision to have to leave her.
I love your line that the clouds had run out of rain. Such a pretty way to think of it.
Another beautiful look at your side of the world, thank you Denzil. (And yes, the title does sound nice in French ðŸ˜) ðŸ’
Hello Di, this comment did not go to spam. I regularly check the spam folder now to see if any of your comments disappear there, but I think the system now recognizes you as bona fide. I’ll now check on my other blog.
Thanks for your comments; glad you enjoyed my account. Will be thinking of you this month with all that’s involved in the transition.
I’m so glad to think you check your spam folder for my comments. Thank you so much but I’m so sad it has to give you another thing to chase up.
Fingers crossed it can be fixable. Last email they couldn’t figure out whyðŸ¤”
Yes, I certainly did enjoy your account.
I really appreciate your kind wishes about the move. Time is fast approaching.
Thanks again Denzil,
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So pleased the weather improved for you, and what an incredible find. I do hope she was ok
So was I Becky! And yes, maybe she just got up and walked off as soon as my back was turned?
Fingers crossed she did
Such a beautiful place – I like the simplicity of the buildings which look sturdy and solid, as if they would weather any storm. As old as some look, they must have withstood all kinds of attacks. The countryside is lovely, a serene walk in the woods. I bet the smells are intoxicating.
Yes I am sure those old buildings have some stories to tell Sharon, particularly as the country has been occupied twice by enemy troops in the last one hundred years.
Prachtig verslag en foto’s.Het is daar ook zo mooi.
Wonderful setting for a hike!
Beautiful views and Love those buildings.. I think often when we make the effort we are rewarded with feeling better for taking ourselves out and enjoying nature..
Many thanks for sharing such a lovely place 🙂
Thanks for your comment Sue. Indeed, making the effort to get out and enjoy nature is rarely a waste of time.
Agreed, it should be compulsory practice for everyone.. I am sure then more would Feel the benefits 🙂
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