AdobeStock-c-captblack76.jpegforêt mystérieuse
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Legendary walks

in Terres-de-Meuse

Did you know? When we think of the land of legends, the Ardennes and its dark forests immediately spring to mind. Yet the villages of the Terres-de-Meuse region are brimming with tales of elves, witches and other fantastic beings. The memory of these stories, once told at fireside gatherings, has gradually faded with time… but the places are still there! The Maison du Tourisme has decided to bring this very special heritage out of oblivion by taking you on four fantastico-touristic walks, for fun, thrills… and above all, dreams!

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©Wondercom 7
Justine Toussaint


Ju on the road

The Vieux-Waleffe walk

in the footsteps of Appolonie

In the Hesbaye village of Vieux-Waleffe,the legend of Appolonie, the witch with the golden hoof, is still very much alive! In the Middle Ages, the poor lady was accused of witchcraft, as a sick horse was said to have died in front of her door. She was burnt at the stake, where the Bon Secours chapel now stands. A strange, mystical place, shaded by six beautiful lime trees. To find out more about this Hesbaye legend, put on your walking shoes and venture out on the trails of Vieux-Waleffe, for an easy 8 km walk.

Practical information:

  • Start: église Saint-Lambert (Rue de la Sablière, 4530 Villers-le-Bouillet)
  • Markings:blue rectangle
  • Distance: 8 km

The deer walk

discover the Château de Fumal

La promenade des chevreuils, in the heart of the parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne, takes you on an exploration of the wild Mehaigne valley. A forest trail in a signposted loop (follow the green diamonds) offering beautiful views over the Hesbaye. Along the way, you’ll discover the château de Fumal which is the guardian of a tradition more than a hundred years old: the little wax hearts.

The little hearts of Fumal were introduced by Elisa du Fontbaré and each contain a fragment of white wax from Easter candles. They are said to protect babies from convulsions, sudden death and the dangers that await an infant or mother-to-be. In the past, whenever a baby was born in the village or surrounding area, the child’s father would rush to the castle to ask for this precious talisman. Today, the practice still exists: if you’d like to purchase a small wax heart, simply contact Château de Fumal.

Petit plus: recently the château’s old vineyard – dating back to the 16th century – has been brought back into use, reviving the estate’s winemaking tradition!

Practical information:

  • Start: Place Limage – 4260 Fumal
  • Markings:green diamond
  • Distance: 11.3 km

The Kulterkène walk in Berloz

in search of flambia

According to legend, the flambia (ghostly fireball), also known as the “Escaufeur”, appeared between Berloz and Rosoux. Everyone was scared to death of this ghostly fireball, especially lone walkers. It would appear in the evening, in the middle of the road, animating itself with singular movements before setting off in pursuit of anyone who crossed its path. In the beliefs of the time, the flambia was associated with evil spirits, like a feu-follet…

In 1899, an old man from the Waremme area recounts that one day he came across the flambia while out for a walk. The ball of fire shot straight at him, stopping abruptly at chest level. Frightened, the old man simply blew towards it, hoping it would go away. The flambia would then simply turn back, as if driven away by the man’s breath. Perhaps it wasn’t as dangerous as all that?

To perhaps come across the flambia, take a twilight stroll around Berloz, on the Kulterkène walk. If you don’t come across this prankster spirit, you’ll discover the Moulin de Corswarem on a 7.7 km route in Hesbaye between orchards, undergrowth and long stretches of crops.

Practical information:

  • Starting point: rue de l’église in Berloz
  • Markings:red rectangle
  • Distance: 7.7 km

The D'zy promenade

in the footsteps of the "Robin Hood of Fraitur

Le D’zy, whose real name was Paul Derenne, was a farmer in Fraiture. Legend has it that, while rescuing a young woman, he killed the Chevalier de Cortis. Arrested and locked up, Paul escaped. To escape the gendarmes after him, he lived for years in the woods around Fraiture and in a secret cave in the Bois de l’Herberain. There, he helped the poor and hunted down bandits such as Rougeaud. He was considered the “Robin Hood of Fraiture”. He died fighting in the Belgian Revolution of 1830.

The D’zy walk will take you to the church of Saint-Remacle. On this route, you’ll cross a campsite, set up on the ruins of the old castle that burned down in 1963. You’ll then cross the magnificent Herberain wood, where the D’zy used to hide.

Practical information:

  • Start: école communale de Fraiture
  • Beaconing: green horizontal rectangle
  • Distance: 12.2 km


This story happened a long time ago
In a land of villages surrounded by fields
Where people lived simply


Pierre Langenaeken

To go further and (re)discover other legendary tales in “Terres-de-Meuse”:

  • BARON Michèle; “Au pays du loup-garou, tome 1 : farfadets, macrales et autres génies du terroir”; (1998)
  • BOLLY Patrice; “Contes et légendes de Hesbaye”; les éditions du Haret (1995).

This article was produced with the invaluable help of Pierre Langenaeken, a nature guide with a passion for the folklore of our regions. Many thanks to him, and happy walks in Terres-de-Meuse!