Tourinnes-la-Grosse is a village in the province of Brabant Wallon that belongs to the municipality of Beauvechain. The village has one of the oldest churches in the province; its central nave apparently dates back to the tenth century. It’s not just old, it’s huge; towering above the village on its own little hillock.
Indeed, the name of the village is closely linked to the church: tourinne la grosse > big tower. Since 2002 the church – Saint Martin’s – has been listed among Wallonia’s exceptional heritage buildings.
The village is small but worth a stroll around and a quick gander. For some reason it seems to be a very artistic village. Murals and sculptures greet you around every corner. Back home, I discover that the Fêtes de la Saint-Martin welcomes hundreds of visitors every November to Tourinnes-La-Grosse. You can enjoy various cultural walks and activities and discover a range of local artistic talents. While you’re waiting for the next fêtes, you’ll just have to make do with a small collection of the art that I spotted in the village.
Does the signature on the last one ring a bell? It did with me. Do you remember my recent walk in neighboring Mélin? I came aross some strange sculptures in a field. They were by local artist, poet and singer Julos Beaucarne. He actually lived in Tourinnes-La-Grosse until his death in 2021.
Actually, the name of Tourinnes-La-Grosse is known internationally. On 7 December 1863 at 11.30 a.m., a loud bang shattered the peace of the village when a 14.5 kilogram meteorite fell nearby. Fragments were collected and analyzed. They can be seen as far afield as the Natural History Museum in Paris, and the University of California in Los Angeles. The Tourinnes-La-Grosse meteorite is one of just two officially accepted meteorite falls observed in Belgium.
Chapelle Notre Dame au Rond-Chêne
At the end of the Rue du Culot at the intersection with the Rue du Stocquoi you will come across a smart chapel called the Chapelle Notre Dame au Rond-Chêne.
A chapel once stood here as far back as 1358 when it was sheltered by a sturdy oak tree (chêne). The chapel used to be a site of pilgrimage for local lepers. The original statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen in 1978, so the one you can see now is a copy.
The oak has also disappeared; the chapel is now shielded by two maples. Around the back is an information board helping you identify what you can see in the distant panorama.
The 9.5k Walk
The walk starts from the large car park behind Saint Martin’s church in Tourinnes-la-Grosse. By public transport, you need to get the bus to Tourinnes-la-Grosse Rue de l’eglise bus stop. Bus 18 from Leuven stops there. Below is the map of the route which you can save/print. GPX track is from my RouteYou page.
It’s a very pleasant country walk through the fields above Tourinnes-la-Grosse. The views are outstanding, the fresh air exhilarating, and the peace very beneficial. The route also takes you through some ancient sunken paths and a couple of small copses. It borders the larger Meerdal Forest (top left on the map above). So if you fancy taking a diversion through the woods, it’s easy to do so. You could leave at the 4k marker on the map, go through the woods, and return at the 5k marker.
As always, any questions, just drop me a line. And if you want to get new walks in your inbox, add your email below: