No, I am not encouraging you to display your favourite silly walk from the classic absurd Monty Python sketch.
Instead, I am pointing you to a useful reference for Silly walks, or perhaps I should say “walks around Silly.”
Silly, you see, is the name of a village in Le Tournaisis; a region located between Brussels and Tournai, incorporating the towns of Ath, Lessines and Enghien. Access is easy via the E429 motorway or the Brussels-Tournai rail connection.
The whole area is a delight, with two natural parks, quaint villages, rural museums, chateaux, and a comprehensive network of country walks.
The website is called Randofamili (Family Walks), and has been expanded to cover the whole of the Belgian province of Henegouwen, plus northern France.
You simply select the area you want to walk in, choose whether you want a short walk (1 hour) or a longer walk, and press “Voir les résultats”. The map shows you the possibilities.
By expanding the map you can select an individual walk of the appropriate distance.
Click on the title of the walk and you will be able to read a short description of it. On the right you will see “Téléchargez la topofiche du circuit”. Click on this and you can download a free 2-page colour flyer, incorporating a full description of the walk, places of interest to see along the route, and an excellent map.
Simply on account of its intriguing name, I chose to explore the area around Silly. I elected to walk between five and 10 km, and was offered a choice of three walks. I selected one with a length of 9 km and duration of 2h 45m.
I was not disappointed by my choice. The circular walk led me along footpaths and deserted country roads, through the villages of Gondregnies and Fouleng, deep into the Forest of the Provision and past a couple of interesting chateaux.
The highlight for me was seeing my first ever firecrest, which is an exquisitely coloured tiny bird, as well as about a dozen roe deer, a fox, plenty of hares and a pair of red squirrels.
If I had more time I could also have explored the area in more detail, as the map indicated other places of interest such as two fromageries and some local restaurants.