This walk through the old municipality of Heyd takes you through a network of hedges. Their usefulness tends to be overlooked, but it becomes clear on the walk how essential they are in a landscape of crop and cattle farming.
Shortly after leaving the road leading down to the charming little village of Fanzel, stop to look at the bilberry bushes to the left and right. When their berries ripen in the summer, they are rich in vitamins C and D. Wild strawberry, which especially likes limestone soils, is also very much in evidence here.
The usefulness of hedges
Once you emerge from the woods, the landscape gradually opens up and is divided into a network of hedges – a feature that makes an important contribution to ecological balance. In particular, hedges have a water purification role, absorbing pollutants, nitrates and phosphates. They limit soil erosion by slowing runoff and helping water to seep into the ground, thus contributing to flood prevention. By acting as a barrier, they also reduce the drying action of the wind; as a result, the terrain becomes divided into a multitude of microclimates. In addition, hedges serve as a bulwark against the spread of diseases in crops and livestock. Finally, they preserve biodiversity by sheltering numerous plant and animal species such as the hare, the hedgehog and the common linnet.
The view along these hedges in clear weather is breath-taking: you can see Sart-Tilman, the steam rising from Tihange power station, but above all the surrounding countryside, with Izier and its medieval tower or even Herbet and its large cropfields.
Start: Heyd (Col du Rideux)
Waymarker: green diamond
Distance: 4.5 km
Approximate duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Level of difficulty: moderate
Distinctive features: forest – mixed woodland and pasture – remarkable views
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