A beautiful hike near the Troupa woods and the Sourbrodt boglands and countryside

It's been a while since we went on a decent hike in the Ardennes, but last Sunday morning we headed to the woods again. We parked at the gravel parking  d'Eau Noire and chose to follow the "red" walk which corresponds more or less with this walk. (the online version has a wider walk through the village of Sourbrodt).  Last time we had been in this area, was during our fabulous sledging walk previous winter. 

We started off goofing around the Roer river a bit, which was very dry. Then we checked out the nature display. We turned off along the memorial for the Russian prisoner camp during WWII that were forced to labour in these boglands by the German occupier.

We had assigned Kabouter the task for checking our itinerary by searching the red signs along the road and telling us where to go, a task he enjoyed very much. The pictures can't do glory to show how fantastic it was.  After days of uncomfortable heatwaves, it was fabulous to be out in the woods in the morning in an easy 21C.

We walked along the side of the Sourbrodt boglands and the Troupa pine woods.  We crossed via a little boardwalk the Scheidbach creek to enter the Rurbusch woods.  The boys admired the "palmtrees" (cfr ferns, ...no real palmtrees in the woods here), the dry mud, ... and they were searching for the perfect walking stick. 

Grand Troupa

Crossing the narrow Nessolo bogland and the Scheidbach creek


Then we reached the country roads at the edge of the Petit Roer Nature Reserve from where we could see the Vehnbahn Ravel further in the landscape . Once out in the sun, the heat returned quickly and the walking motivation of the children melted.  They seemed to pick up every single stone and we had to constantly encourage them to keep walking. 

I must say I was quite relieved to reach the old station area of Sourbrodt where we took a break at the terrace of the old-fashioned tavern Uylenspiegel. 

From then on we couldn't find very clear roadsigns anymore...maybe because the online version is different from the boards along the road? Maybe because tiny little red markers disappear in a village,? Maybe because new Ravel signs are up? Anyway, we knew were we were heading so we kept following the direction of the Ravel L44 through the residential streets of Sourbrodt/Bosfagne . Despite some very nice vacation houses that make you dream, this part of the walk was a bit too much for me. Fortunately at the end of Rue du Coin du Bois, we finally reached the trail through the boglands again. 

The children were intrigued by the memorial for the Australian pilot and French gunman, killed in WWII in 1943. After they found the propeller monument, they searched further for more plane pieces :).  From there on, the parking was just a few 100m away...but a few 100m too much for Beertje who decided he had had enough. 

The toddler who states "no, I don't want to walk anymore"
With the pace of 2 toddlers who didn't always want to walk or who wanted to pick up every stone, we did this walk in 3 hours...twice as long as advertised.  Looking at the maps now, I realise we could have shortcut it just before crossing the petit Roer and skip the entire village part.  Something I need to remember for next time.

Pictures of (part of) this walk in the snow are here and also here when Kabouter saw snow for the very first time.


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