Four walks from Horst CastleFlemish Brabant

Four Walks Starting From Horst Castle

The ideal way to spend a day in the Belgian Hageland: a walk, lunch, and castle visit!

In my last post I introduced you to Horst Castle, which is well worth a visit for an hour or two. But the neighbouring countryside is also worth exploring. So you can make a day of it: a morning walk, lunch, and then a castle visit in the afternoon.

Horst Castle lies in the heart of the Hageland. This is an extensive area of woodland, meadows, streams and marshes, and is criss-crossed with plenty of well-signposted footpaths. As it’s fairly undulating you can get some good views over the countryside from key vantage points.

I frequently go walking in this area, and have devised four recommended walks. They all start from Horst Castle, where there is a large car park. If you’re travelling by public transport, take De Lijn bus 310 from Leuven to the nearby village of Sint-Pieters-Rode and get off at the stop called Sint-Pieters-Rode-Horst. All the walks are circular.

Not surprisingly, from the castle the four walks head off to the north, east, south and west. They follow the numbered signposts of the Hageland walking network. You start/finish all four of them at post no. 143 outside Horst Castle.

1. North to Nieuwrode

Nieuwrode walk

You can see that from no. 143 (bottom left) you can head north to the village of Nieuwrode and then through Houwart and back to the castle. Depending on the day and time of day, there are refreshment opportunities in both villages. This walk is 11.6 km.

 

2. East to Houwart and Winge Golf Club

Houwart walk

Again starting from no. 143 at the castle (top left), this pleasant country walk of 12 km takes you east to Houwart village and then south through the Roeselberg woods along the perimeter of the Winge Golf Club. You can stop at the Gempermolen café (no, 237, see below) for refreshments.

 

3. South to the Gempermolen

Broechem walk

This scenic 10.5 km walk, known locally as the Broechem Walk, also enables you to make a pitstop halfway at the Gempermolen café. This is an old watermill that has been recorded in documents dating back to 1229. It serves small snacks and larger meals, and also has a terrace where you are free to eat your packed lunch. The Gempermolen also has a cold drink dispenser which is useful when the café is closed.

 

Also extremely useful is this automatic vending machine – if you are a cyclist and get a puncture. It dispenses various sizes of inner-tubes for bikes!

Broechem walk (22)_1111x960

4. West to Kortrijk-Dutsel

Kortrijk-Dutsel

From no. 143 (far right) you can strike out west through Sint-Pieters-Rode and return through the village of Kortrijk-Dutsel. If you do this walk in the winter, you may need rubber boots as between 147, 146 and 130 the path can get a bit flooded after heavy rain. The total length is 11.8 km.

 

5. Mix n’ Match!

Of course, the beauty of the hiking network is that you can mix and match to suit your fitness and time available. So you’ll see from the maps that you can simply do a short circle around Horst Castle of 2-3 km. Or you can extend your walk much further.

I hope you enjoy walking in the Hageland. As always, if you have any questions, just drop me a line. Or let me know how you get on.

 

13 replies »

  1. I’m impressed by your inclusion of maps, photos, and information to make each walk as useful and as interesting (and as much fun) as possible. The beautiful house (?) on the east walk, the inner tube vending machine and windmill cafe on the south walk, and the gorgeous horses and reminder to wear boots in winter for the west walk are all charming tidbits to make these walks intriguing.

    I’m curious about how you accomplish so much walking. Do you travel by bus or car to these sites and stay overnight for several days? Or are all these places close enough to your home that you can drive a short distance to get to them?

    Thanks as always for the tours.

    • Thanks for visiting, commenting and enjoying my post Sharon. Belgium is a small country and I live bang in the middle so I can easily get to most places. I use the train and bus a lot, and the car to the more inaccessible places. Horst Castle is 15 minutes away from where I live by car, but I have also cycled there. I rarely stay overnight. Also, I am a freelancer so can sometimes arrange my work to match the weather: work on a rainy Saturday and enjoy a sunny Monday outside!

    • Yes Carol I like places with a halftime stop-off. The Gempermolen excels with its picnic place for hikers and cyclists; not all cafes offer that.

  2. What a beautiful scenic walk Denzil, thank you for taking us along such wonderful countryside and seeing both flora and fauna. Wonderful to see the animals along the way, bird-boxes and waterways. And of course a most refreshing break at the Pub for that refreshing drink.. Any walker would find that a most welcome stop en-route.. 🙂
    🙂

  3. This complements the Horst Castle post well, Denzil. I’ll include it next time, though I’m not sure when that will be. If I can find time this evening I will schedule one as I’m going to be away from my laptop for the next 2 weeks. Bereft! 🙂 🙂 But my daughter and the Algarve are great compensations.

  4. Thanks for posting these descriptions. They inspired me to get out and see some more of the Belgian countryside. I did the North route today with my dog and we both enjoyed it The route is pretty dog-friendly (i.e. he was off the lead for a lot of the way). I hope to do the other routes over the next few weeks. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks David, it’s always great to hear from people who have found this site and enjoyed the walks. I’m glad you and your dog enjoyed the North route. Let me know how you get on with the others, and if you have any problems on it.

I welcome your comments

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