Exploring the High Fens is like travelling to another country! The steppe of the High Fens, the wide uninhabited landscape, the long paths on duckboards, the peat swamp, and the cotton grass that dance in the wind! Today we take you on an exceptional 12 Km walk! If there is only one walk to do during your stay, choose the Black Flohay without hesitation!
3H – 4H
Signal de Botrange
The Black Flohay in the heart of the High Fens
The Black Flohay is a place in the heart of the High Fens. Facing the Signal of Botrange, there is a pontoon with a panoramic map. From there, we can see trunks set up along the horizon line. These are the remains of a pine forest planted in 1850, which was ravaged by several fires from 1950. The trunks, bleached by the flames and the weather, still stand proudly and define a bewildering landscape. This is the destination of our walk.
No marked trails
To approach the Black Flohay, you will have to rely on your sense of direction and the outline available on the website of the Eastern Townships Tourism Board. Save the trail map in gpx format on your smartphone (at the top right on the site of Ostbelgien) because in the middle of the plateau Internet access is limited or non-existent.The trail to cross the High Fens and climb up to Black Flohay may be more difficult to locate. But we encourage you to overcome your concern, as this walk through the High Fens is really worth a visit.
100% High Fens
The walk of Black Flohay offers you the High Fens experience in concentrated form. Gradually moving away from the road, you dive into the heart of the peat plateau. After the broad pebbled paths, you go from the trails to the duckboards.You can let your eyes feast on the 360 ° panoramic view. Here and there you can see some ponds, which are traces of former peat farms.All the typical vegetation of the High Fens awaits you to experience the best that the region offers. During the walk, you will cross different types of landscapes each time.
To the Black Flohay
Once you get to a third of the way, you will leave the duckboards to cross the plain of the High Fens. There is nothing that clearly indicates the direction. On the side, you’ll see an old abandoned wood path. A small footbridge makes it possible to cross a stream. The terrain is clearly wet. It is the right direction.
You will be glad to have waterproof shoes and you will look for the best spots to place your feet.
As you get closer to the twisted trunks of the old pine forest, the ground becomes drier and making progress gets easier. Turn around and enjoy the view, the wind and the scents of nature…
At sunrise or sunset
I was at Signal of Botrange at 7:15 in the morning. Honestly, I should have arrived even earlier! Witnessing the sunrise or sunset at the Black Flohay is a unique experience. The light hitting on the old trunks gives the landscape a unique look. This is a must for photographers!
But you won’t be disappointed if you go at noon: crossing the remnants of the trees is really special at all times of the day. You will enjoy a sense of immersion in the High Fens, like never before.
And the tower in front: yes, that’s where you came from…
A stream, blueberries, birds… The High Fens thus.
When you leave the Black Flohay, you will join the duckboards to the left. The walk takes you along the Helle, to the Marie-Anne Libert bridge. Personally, I loved this part of the walk. For me, it brings together the essence of the High Fens. I’m a fan of the duckboards, the sound of water, and the blueberries along the banks of the creek. It’s the perfect place to take a break, sitting along the Helle and having a picnic…
Alone or in a group
If you have the opportunity, be selfish: go walk alone! The sounds, the smells, the views, the song of the stream, the conversations of the birds… I was able to take full advantage of the walk, hike at my own rhythm, stop, recharge my batteries.I feel that as a couple or with friends, we tend to chat, so I would not have fully experienced this total immersion in nature. Flore on the other hand, did the walk with friends for the shooting of the video of this walk. Her friends and the video team enjoyed the walk. The experience is really different in group or alone. The monotonous firebreaks go unnoticed thanks to the nice company and sharing is also rewarding. As well, It’s more animated and allows you to create memories together that will be told again years later. So do as you please!
Last straight lines
After leaving the Helle behind, you will tackle a less exciting part of the walk. Of course, the trail is still pretty. A meadow of blueberries, a clear view of the plain of the High Fens… And also longer straight lines due to the firebreaks. Fatigue begins to set in. With children, I think this part is more painful for them. Plan some breaks if you bring them with you.
The walk to discover the High Fens
If you are on vacation in the region of Malmedy, Waimes or Eupen and you really want to experience the High Fens, I recommend this walk. I am always captivated by this trail, even as I write this article. Honestly, I would almost want to keep it a secret, just for myself…
If you are going for a walk, take good care of the beautiful nature and E-N-J-O-Y!!
Good to know
- Medium to high difficulty : There is little change in altitude, but do not underestimate the distance.
- For children 10 years old and over: Suitable for children who are avid walkers. Some long firebreak segments might discourage them
- Dogs are not allowed :The route runs along the C zone of the High Fens, which is not accessible for dogs, even those on a leash
- Picnic : Plan for more than 3 hours walking and stop for a picnic. Bring anyway something to drink and eat. The walk is great!
- Fire : Be careful. In case of a red flag, access to the trail is prohibited because of the fire risk.
- Nature : Preserve nature. Bring your trash back with you. And also bring back any trash that you find, which others might have left behind.