The ‘Forest of Wallers’ (located in northern France) is best known in Flanders for the cycling race ‘Paris-Roubaix’. The feared passage through the cobblestone strip “Trouée d’Arenberg” attracts a mass of Flemings to the area every year. This old mining site with artificial hills is however also a fun and unique place to walk.
When I go there, I always park at the ‘Maison de la Forêt’ at the ‘Parc de la Porte du Hainaut‘. When you come for the first time to walk in the ‘Forest of Wallers’ you quickly come to the conclusion that there are no signs for hikers. So you’ll need to take a map or a smartphone with a good app. A solid preparation is important here to discover the nicest places. Close to the parking lot there are still many runners but once you go a little deeper into the forest, you run into few people.
Along the way, you can climb several “Terrils”. These are artificial hills that are left over from the mining industry. On the hills you regularly encounter mountain bikers. It’s worth seeing how some of those daredevils finish a steep descent with their bike. These hills can be climbed in different ways: either steeply up, or gradually upwards through the paths. The large forest and the various lakes, make sure that the “Wallers Forest” is a perfect place for a varied journey of 5 to 20 km.
If it’s been rainy weather for a period, there may be large puddles lying on the trails. Especially in the woods it can be wet for a long time (because of the mountain bikers who keep deepening the wells). So I recommend bringing waterproof shoes. If you don’t have them, you can always maneuver a little along the puddles, but ideally it is not.
Do you want to walk in the ‘Forest of Wallers’ without worrying about the route? I offer a walk in the ‘Forest of Wallers’ via this link. The walk can be adjusted according to certain preferences. Anyone with additional information about this area can post a comment below or contact me by email.
Are you an hiker yourself? Then this post about three beautiful hikes in the Ardennes might also interest you.