Ready to see something amazing during your day trip through Belgium? Let's go on a walk through the Fairy Valley in Achouffe. Here the beavers, who are amazing architects, have built enormous dams and have changed the river completely. If you are quiet you will even be able to spot them!
Beavers in Belgium
Recently the Belgian government decided that beavers should not be hunted anymore and should be reintroduced in Wallonia because of the richness they bring to the diversity of a forest. By allowing them to return to their natural habitat, the beavers create large dams that change the course of the rivers. By doing this, they are making the soil moist again and allowing other plants, which have normally disappeared from our biodiversity in Belgium, to live again.
Start at the brewery of Achouffe, here you will find a big free parking lot and different information signs to start your walk. You have multiple paths starting at the brewery, something for everyone really. The one I am presenting to you today is the one of 6 km through the Fairy Valley.
Follow the blue and white signs "La Vallée des Fées" but don't miss out on the Achouffe garden filled with houses of little dwarfs and information boards. You can also go for a more challenging hike and go for "Vieille Ardenne" with the red and white signs.
Address parking: Achouffe 8, 6666 Houffalize
The garden of Achouffe is a lovely place to read more about the brewery and their dwarfs but also about the mystical Fairy Valley. At the info center of Achouffe, you can find detailed maps and more information about the Ardennes as well.
Where to spot the beavers?
The path leads to the river, which you will be following along the way. Within a few meters, you can already see the first beaver dam. These constructions are everywhere and you definitely see the marks of the beavers. It is a marvelous walk to do with kids and show them how impressive nature can be.
Don't walk too fast and try to look at the trees, you will see the bite marks of the beavers or even trees that are completely stripped. Beavers eat tree bark, aquatic plants, and grass so they come out quite often for a bite.
If you are very quiet and you wait, you will see them in and around the river. There are many of them in Achouffe!
What to bring?
My biggest recommendation for this hike is to bring good walking shoes! This walk is extremely muddy because the beavers changed the course of the river so the path is sometimes completely gone and you need to create your own path. This hike is a bit challenging so I would not recommend it for kids under the age of 7 years old.
Also, there is no possibility to bring a stroller. We saw a couple struggling with the stroller and helped them carry it over a few trees that broke down but it was quite a challenge.
In summer, this walk is much easier because the river is not so high and you have drier sections that are easy to cross. During autumn and winter, it has something adventurous that I can certainly enjoy.
Bring your binoculars to spot the beavers and wait for them from a distance. The best time to spot them is at dawn or during the evening.
Free parking at: Brasserie Achouffe Achouffe 8, 6666 Houffalize
Signage: follow the blue and white signs
Distance: 6 km, around 2h30
Beautiful during every season
Possibility for a meal or drink at the local restaurants of Achouffe
Tourism office next to the Chouffe shop for a detailed map
I hope you will enjoy this walk and that you will be lucky to spot the beavers! If you want to tag me in your photos I will gladly share them on my profile!
Keep on dreaming & Fly Along!
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