The village of Treignes is part of Viroinval, at the heart of the Viroin-Hermeton natural park .
Situated on the bank of the Viroin river, the village is concentrated around its imposing Neo-Gothic church and its castle farm. The territory of Treignes is divided between the Ardennes and the Calestienne. The Viroin marks the separation between these two geological regions.
This geological diversity brings an extraordinary natural richness. On one side of the Viroin are the great deep forests of the Ardennes, with an undulating relief. On the other side, you’ll find limestone hills. The soil allows water to drain away and captures the heat of the sun. This attracts an exceptional biotope: lizards, grasshoppers, locusts, butterflies, etc. It is almost like being in the South of France. The hills are covered with grasslands where thousands of flowers bloom in spring: orchids, helianthemums, anemones, veronicas, gentians, and many more.
These environments were created by ancient agro-pastoral practices. Herds of sheep, once led by shepherds, grazed there and thus ensured the maintenance of the grasslands. In recent years, the Natura 2000 programme has enabled the restoration of these meadows. In order to avoid overgrowth and the reclaiming of the land by the forest, flocks of sheep graze these nature reserves. You will come across them as you stroll along...
The limestone grasslands are spread all along the Viroin valley.
Just 100 metres from the holiday house, the naturalist can already explore the Moessia nature reserve.
La Roche-à-Lomme and la Montagne-aux-Buis are two very representative sites of this type of environment
LA ROCHE A LOMME AND LA MONTAGNE-AUX-BUIS
Between Nismes and Dourbes, two other villages that are part of Viroinval, a limestone peak topped by a cross offers a unique view of the Viroin valley. La Roche à Lomme is known internationally for its high biological value. The rocky slope to the south is covered with a flora in Mediterranean hues and enhanced by the abundant presence of boxwood, hence the name Montagne-aux-buis (= boxwood mountain).
LE FONDRY DES CHIENS
This rather impressive chasm was formed in the limestone by the action of water over millions of years. This small canyon is strewn with strangely shaped rocks. It is a unique location in Belgium.
Next to the Fondry des chiens you will see a magnificent calcareous grassland, dotted with blue (globular) flowers and orchids in the spring. Marked hiking trails pass through this place located on the heights of Nismes.
THE ARDENNES FOREST
Once they have crossed the Viroin river, walkers enter another world: the Ardennes forest. Immense and deep, it is home to many animals that can sometimes be spotted.
The villages of Oignies and Le Mesnil, in the heart of this deep forest, exude a very special atmosphere.
Slate was once exploited in the schistous soil: many vestiges of the mines are dotted around. In Haybes, it is possible to follow a 6 km walking trail equipped with interpretation panels (information at the holiday house).
L'ETANG DE VIRELLES
The pond of Virelles, which is located in the commune of Chimay (30 min. from the house), in the heart of the Fagne, is a magnificent site where you can observe birds in all seasons from observation points and huts. The north, east and west of the pond are covered with reed beds, meadows and temperate rainforests that are particularly beneficial for birdlife.
The Aquascope, south of the pond, is a nature interpretation centre open to the public all year round. There is an educational trail, a tavern and a playground.
With a reservation, it is possible to explore the site by canoe accompanied by a Virelles-Nature guide.
A great experience for the whole family!