Do you want to immerse yourself in the forest? Are you looking for a 100% Ardennes walk with hardwood trees, a singing stream, rooty trails, unexpected glades, contemplative breaks, and a sense of serenity? At Haus Ternell in the High Fens, the 8 km Forest of the Dukes walk combines all the ingredients to infuse you with the 100% of Ardennes essence.
To start, I need to release my enthusiasm. Otherwise, I will not be able to share with you the information you need for this walk.Going for a walk for our blog Oui Go! helped me realize how much I need nature. The simple fact of being in the forest put me in a good mood for the whole week. So I loooooooved doing this walk. It was really good!
I liked the hilly route, which goes up and down. I liked the soil first covered with roots and then with big stones that give the feeling of climbing. I liked the Helle and the Getzbach streams flowing along the trail forming mini waterfalls. I loved the small glades that emerge unexpectedly, and the fact that everything changes all the time: the landscape, the rhythm, the vegetation. I know that the Ninglinspo walk is popular. And I agree: it is a mythical walk. But there are also sooooo many other walks in the Ardennes that are just as enchanting that it is a pity to limit oneself to the torrent of Remouchamps. That said…
A quick dive in the forest
Our first stop is the information desk to check that my friend and I are at the right place (GPS : 50.585451 – 6.129234 – Monschauer Straße Ternell 2, 4700 Eupen). We get a warm welcome and clear explanations. As a bonus, I receive a flyer with the points of interest along the route. Just in case, I take a picture of the route, which is marked with a green cross. We leave.
After 200 metres, we follow the right markings and immediately dive into the forest. All the ingredients for a « 100% Ardennes » experience are there, from the first steps. Total happiness! We can see the sky through the leaves of the trees. But it is impossible to guess where we are going: it’s green everywhere… I’ll stop there. I do not want to tell you everything about the walk. I want to let you discover it and that you create ( c’est du subjonctif présent) your own experience.
Roots, stones, trunks
The Forest of the Dukes walk is a loop that takes you deep into the forest, away from any form of human activity. It has two stages. The first part goes along the Helle. And halfway through, you go up a short and intense slope to cross the deserted motorway, which tries to compete with the mythical roads in the USA.
On the way back, you head to the Getzbach and cross the route of an old railway line (1914-1918). There are signposts that announce difficulties ahead. « It’s not true at all! » A radiant walker tells us when she sees our wary faces!
What might seem rough is the path that leads back to Haus Ternell. It’s a bit steeper. You can go slowly but surely or you can jump like a kid to the top and catch your breathing in over 5 minutes. To each his own. I chose the second option and I looked like a kid who had been released for the first time in nature, so what?!
A sporty walk
As you have understood: the trail is sometimes steep, sometimes steeper, and wet to muddy, depending on the season. Along the way, we met several walkers of all ages equipped with walking sticks. We did not need them. I did not find the trail difficult, but it was indeed sporty. The Forest of the Dukes walk is not recommended if you are concerned about your legs, your ankles or your hips… however, for beginner hikers, it is a great option!
Immersion in the forest also for children
I am convinced that my children would have loved this trail. Generally, they are bored when the path is flat and monotonous like the RAVeL, for example. Here, the terrain is constantly changing. Running, climbing, jumping… It’s the perfect program if you are 6 years old and up. For younger children, the loop is too long and they will not always perceive the danger when the path is overhanging.
Count on walking for two and a half hours. With children, I would have taken long picnic breaks, built dams and cairns (small pyramids made of stones), and gone for dips in the two streams. One last tip, this walk is perfect when there is a heat wave. The trail is shaded on 90% of the walk. It seems that in autumn, it’s simply stunning!
The walks from Haus Ternell
The Haus Ternell Nature Center, immersed in nature, is located along the motorway between Eupen and Montjoie in Germany. Haus Ternell is set in the Forest of the Dukes,or Hertogenwald in German, which is one of the largest forests in the Ardennes with an area of 12,300 Ha.
There are many routes marked out from the Center. In winter, you can go cross-country skiing. There is also a small restaurant and a playground is available for children. The staff at the tourist office is very helpful and friendly!
If you are further south and would like to do a stroll along the water, you could try the walk that Julie did along the Lesse. Compare them and tell us which one you prefer!
And above all: enjoy!
Good to know
- For children 6 years old and over
- N0 telephone network
- Dogs that are kept on a leash are admitted
- Slippery paths in winter