Flemish Brabant

Nieuwrode: “Chips in the night”

An interesting and scenic walk through the villages, fields and forests around Nieuwrode

Starting point for this walk – as with so many others – is a church. This time it’s the church in Nieuwrode, a small Flemish village a few kms south of Aarschot. And like virtually all Flemish churches, it’s ridiculously large for the size of village, although presumably in the olden days it used to be packed full of villagers for the traditional Saturday evening Catholic service.

P1040368Then it’s time to head east with some glorious views from the Kriesberg over the surrounding fields. Thanks also to another sunny November Saturday!

1The walk then follows Wijngaardstraat (Vineyard Street), which is aptly named because this area is the centre of the Hageland viniculture.

2It’s a small but growing industry. Vines used to be grown in this area back in the days of the Romans, but 20 or so years ago it was given a kick-start after many years in the backwater. The first decent wine was produced in 1997, and since then Hageland wines have won national prizes. A variety of grapes are grown, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.

The next top is the tiny village of Houwaart. Tiny, but advanced and innovative, thanks to the presence of this on the outskirts:

3Yes, it’s an automatic always-open day-and-night potato vending machine, selling a range of different types and bag sizes of potato.

4Such a facility could be incredibly useful. Just imagine, you wake up hungry in the middle of the night and say “oh I just fancy some … potatoes, so I’ll just nip down to the automatic spud dispenser!” Well, I guess it must be worth the investment, although I didn’t see anyone using it while I was there. But then it wasn’t in the middle of the night.

So into Houwart itself, and, despite it being just a few kilometres down the road from Nieuwrode, the village boasted another large church:

5It always amazes me that Belgian churches usually seem to be in a good state of repair, unlike many rural churches in my homeland of England which are falling down and are constantly asking for money for repairs. The difference lies in the fact that the Church of Belgium is state-sponsored, so the country looks after the upkeep of the church fabric, whereas the Church of England is responsible for maintaining its buildings itself.

The village has a typical village shop: a combination of baker, butcher, newsagent and general haberdashery (I’ve been wanting to use that word in a blog post for years!).

6I  availed myself of a much needed pastry; some kind of combo with apple, apricot, marzipan and an iced covering. Suitably refreshed, I set off along some pretty country lanes.

7My next destination was Horst Castle, which I have written about elsewhere. Firstly it became visible in the distance …


… and then up close.

9The castle lies in the heart of some gorgeous woods, which at this time of the year look particularly beautiful.

1011The route led me back to Nieuwrode, with time to sit down meditatively and enjoy the view.

12The total length was 12 km, and if you’re interested in walking the route, I followed waymarks 154, 155, 156, 157, 225, 226, 230, 229, 228, 144, 143, 150, 151, 152, 160, 159, 154. Here’s a map of the route should you want to print or download it.

17 replies »

  1. The path through the woods is very autumnal and it looks like you had perfect weather for a long walk, fortified by a delicious Belgian pastry. I’m surprised you didn’t make use of the potato vending machine!

  2. I wonder how must it feel to walk for so long and then just stare and take in all the nature that Mother Earth offers us for free… Love your website so much.

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