A pleasant, varied walk with a great scenic view. And with a short child-friendly option!
The Sclaigneaux Nature Reserve is located on the northern bank of the Meuse River to the east of Namur and the west of Andenne. Not surprisingly, its nearest habitation is the village of Sclaigneaux.
Within a fairly small area the reserve encompasses an invigoratingly wide variety of habitats. One minute you can be walking through a dark pine forest, totally silent apart from the invisible goldcrests squeaking like rusty hinges in the treetops. Then the path opens out into a heather moor, and you see the beauty of the surrounding hills and villages and marvel at how many crops are already growing in the fields in mid-winter. Then you find yourself in some undulating sandpits, where you have to keep an ear open for fast-approaching mountain bikers. And suddenly you round a bend in the path and you’re in the depths of some old oak and beech woods and seeing badger paw-prints in the mud.
The walk is a 10 km loop, but there’s a shortcut halfway along if you are pressed for time. Moreover, there’s a short 2 km walk that’s ideal for children.
OK, let’s get down to business. We’ll start with the map of the walk which you can also download here to view on a bigger scale and print:
At the bottom-right you’ll see a suggested starting point for your walk. It’s a car park which isn’t on a named road as far as I could see but it’s here on Google maps. (Coordinates: 50.498951, 5.061942).
On the left of the map I mark an alternative starting point. Here you can park on the little triangle of land with a war memorial outside Rue de Sclermont 691, 5300 Andenne. This starting point is more easily accessible by public transport, namely from the railway station at Sclaigneaux, although this requires walking an additional 1.5 km from the station.
You can download the gps file of the route for your device from my RouteYou page. Or you can make use of this RouteYou app which I have embedded below. You can make it full-screen and easily follow the route from Discovering Belgium on your smartphone!
Want to walk this route? Click on this link and press the start button.
If you plan to walk the whole route of 10 km, you can go clockwise or anticlockwise. At the end of the car park (photo below), take the right-hand path to go clockwise around the loop. This is what I did. The advantage of going clockwise is that you reach the beautiful scenic view towards the end of your walk, when you can have a good sit down on a conveniently located bench and relax, knowing that there’s not far left to go. At least that’s what I did, and didn’t feel like getting up for a long time!
If you want to go anticlockwise, take the left-hand path shown on the photo. On the map I’ve also indicated a couple of shortcuts.
A word of warning: if you go clockwise, the first half a kilometer is extremely muddy, at least in the winter. But don’t be put off. Struggle through; the path soon dries out.
Also, some of the middle portion is also a mountain bike route, so is a bit roughed up.
Short child-friendly walk
For a pleasant walk with the kids, start from the car park and take the left-hand footpath. After 1 kilometer you will reach the scenic view. There’s a bench there and some grassland to run around in. You should be OK taking a stroller on this walk.
What is there to see?
Here are a few photos of what to expect on your walk around Sclaigneaux.
Let me know how you get on, should you do this walk. And, as always, any questions about transport, accessibility, picnic areas, Belgium … just comment below or drop me a line. I may not know the answer, but I’ll try to find it.
If you want to make a day of it, nearby is the Ceramics Museum Andenne and the Archaeological Center of the Scladina Cave, although I have not yet visited either of these places so can’t personally vouch for them.