Flemish Brabant

Diest: Cool and peaceful in the forest

With the weather forecast predicting temperatures up to 29 degrees, I thought I would choose a walk under the trees for my Saturday morning hike, for a bit of coolness. I was glad I did. Even when I set off at nine o’clock the sun was beating down, and by ten o’clock it was already scorching in the open sun.

The walk I chose was this 14 km walk through the forests to the north of Diest. Starting point is the Diest railway station: simply leave the station and cross over the footbridge to the left of  Wim’s Clubs sandwich bar:

P1050590If you arrive by car there is plenty of parking outside the station. Following the route in the map above, you will soon leave civilization behind with the promise of the forests ahead of you.

P1050537I was certainly grateful of their shelter from the sun, and the small river the Zwart Water passing through the fields added to the tranquility of the place.

Halfway around is the Kiewithoeve, a conveniently placed brasserie where I was looking forward to slake my thirst.

P1050575Unfortunately it doesn’t open until noon and I was there an hour too early, but if you are doing the walk in the afternoon it would be a great spot to rest for a while.

I also passed an interesting bio-farm, the Bolhuishoeve.

P1050555They sell an interesting range of biofoods, and according to their website you can treat your children to donkey rides around the farm. You can even stay in a caravan for a farm holiday. Unfortunately however, despite wandering around, the place seemed to be deserted. Maybe they were all out in the fields.

However, despite the disappointments of a closed café and a deserted farm, this is a really lovely walk. The footpaths are well maintained, the village lanes are virtually car-free, and the overall area is so peaceful.

14 km is quite a lot to do in one morning, but you can make a day of it and stop over in the Kiewithoeve for lunch. Alternatively, there are numerous short cuts you can take to reduce the distance.

16 replies »

  1. Diest also seems to be a crossroads of long distance footpaths, not to mention the “Begijnhof”, which is worth a visit also; I had a more than decent dinner in the brasserie there.

    • I always find it interesting when walking Guido, how few hikers I meet, and yet cyclists (on the road or mountain bikers) are plentiful. As a Belgian yourself, do you consider yourself in the minority as a hiker, especially when the national sport seems to be cycling?

      • Interesting question… Actually I enjoy being in the minority; as I have a job, in which speaking is essential, I love hiking in solitude. Which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good conversation or unexpected meetings. – There aren’t actually that many hiking blogs around, so yes we must be a minority. Most of the Belgian hikers seem to be walking in large groups, taking part in huge walking events organized all over the country during weekends (e.g. KWB, Bloso, Vlaamse WandelFederatie, etc.) For the time being, that’s not my cup of tea.

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