Start from the village of L’Ecluse and enjoy a walk through the Rosdel nature reserve. Also: what are the benefits of walking outdoors?
If you are looking for a pleasant walk in the Flemish countryside, perhaps on a weekend afternoon, then I can recommend this walk. It starts and ends in the village of L’Ecluse, a few kilometres to the west of Hoegaarden and just south of Meldert. I say “the Flemish countryside” but L’Ecluse is actually not in Flanders but in Wallonia. However, just 50 metres down the road and you are in Flanders.
You can park near the church. By public transport, TEC bus 18 goes to the village (the Leuven – Hamme-Mille – Jodoigne route) but don’t expect much of a service at weekends. The actual village of L’Ecluse isn’t particularly special, but the surrounding countryside is lovely.
Below is the map of the route which you can download as a PDF. The GPX coordinates are on my RouteYou page. Most of the route is off-road and on farm tracks, so is accessible if you are pushing a child’s buggy or stroller. Distance is a tad under 8 km.
You’ll soon be out of the village and into the open fields:
The most interesting aspect of this walk is that it crosses the Rosdel nature reserve:
At first, along some verdant country lanes:
It would be easy to speedily scoot along these lanes. But why not take the opportunity to go slow and notice the plant life? At this time of the year (September) the hedges are ripe with berries of all sorts. I had fun photographing and identifying some of them. Maybe it’s something you might like to do too? Based on the berries I came across here, I made a separate post on How to identify hedgerow berries on a country walk. Here’s a selection of what you can find in the hedgerows around L’Ecluse:
As I mentioned, most of the route is on farm tracks like this one below. They are traffic-free, although you might meet the occasional tractor:
There’s also a conveniently located picnic bench at the 6 km mark:
A local philosopher has gone to the trouble to share his thoughts, which I certainly agree with:
Here take nothing but pictures. Leave only the imprint of your footsteps. Don’t kill anything other than time.
I hope you enjoy your walk around L’Ecluse. Observant readers may remember that I covered a walk through the Rosdel nature reserve a few years ago. That particular walk was slightly different in that I started over in Hoegaarden so it covers the area in the east. The one I describe above covers the western area. If you have a whole day available you could always combine the two into one large circular walk.
THE BENEFITS OF A COUNTRY WALK
As regular readers know, I am keen to encourage us all to get outdoors and enjoy a walk or cycle ride in the outdoors. From time to time I mention some of the benefits. Recently I came across an interesting article that describes the The 19 Physical & Mental Benefits Of Being Outside. These include boosting our creativity, reducing stress, and improving our sleep patterns. I recommend you finding a few minutes to check out this article. It’s published on a website called MyOpenCountry which is also worth checking out.
To experience some or all of these 19 benefits of being outside, why not subscribe to Discovering Belgium by adding your email below? This means you will hopefully never be short of a suggestion for a walk or cycle ride in your area. Thanks. Denzil
Here are some other walks in the area: