Kravaalbos walking route

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Kravaalbos walking route

Length
7,8 km
Time
1u 35m
Terrain
18% Verhard

Dorpveld 1, 1730 Asse

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Wandelknooppuntenbord

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Route description

Kravaalbos is somewhat hidden on the border of two provinces, which is why it remained under the radar for a long time. Today, that is the greatest asset of this ecologically valuable forest, where spring bloomers and hop-poles grow in abundance.

Starting point

Node 47

Bij Stinne

Bij Stinne Meldert © David Samyn.jpg

The folk café Bij Stinne has been an established place in Meldert for more than fifty years. Some neighbours took over the torch from Stinne Aelbrecht and gave it a second life. The interior remained as it was – as did the coal stove and the local football team – and home-grown beers appeared on the price list. Meanwhile, Bij Stinne also enjoys national fame, as the café was used as the setting in the third Kampioenen movie. Open on Saturdays from 1pm, and on Sundays from 10am.

Node 47 - 99

Molenbeek

Molenbeek Meldert © David Samyn (1).jpg
Molenbeek Meldert © David Samyn (2).jpg

The Molenbeek stream is fed by the many source streams that bubble up in and around the Kravaalbos. It has a fairly natural, winding course in a valley lined with trees and forest. Ten years ago, the stream was still an open sewer. Except for a few sticklebacks, all the fish there were gone. Today, thanks to a number of interventions, the water quality has improved considerably, and you can once again find ten fish species swimming upstream from the Dender.

Node 47-99

Hop field

hopveld Meldert © David Samyn.jpg
hop Meldert © David Samyn (2).jpg
hop Meldert © David Samyn (1).jpg

On the left-hand side of the trail, you will pass by a hop field several acres in size. The hops here grow in hedges and are meant for harvesting hop shoots or 'keesten', a culinary delicacy. Hop cultivation was introduced to the region around Aalst by Affligem Abbey. The region was responsible for more than one-third of world production in the 17th century. In the 20th century, production moved to the Eastern Bloc, ending this centuries-old tradition, which lives on in the annual harvest festival Pikkeling.

Node 40

Meldert

Meldert © Johan Martens.jpg

The village of Meldert is one of the four Aalst boroughs that make up the Faluintjes. The village owes its origins to the sandstone quarries in the area. Perhaps the monks from Affligem built a church or chapel here to serve the ever-increasing population. The tower of the gothic St Walburga Church is said to be a remnant of the original Romanesque-style church building. Adorning the front of the church are two monuments that keep the memory of sandstone-mining and hop-growing alive.

Node 40

Hof Den Tuitelaar

Hof den Tuitelaar Meldert © David Samyn (1).jpg
Hof den Tuitelaar Meldert © David Samyn (2).jpg
Hof den Tuitelaar Meldert © David Samyn (3).jpg
Hof den Tuitelaar Meldert © David Samyn (4).jpg
Hof den Tuitelaar Meldert © David Samyn (5).jpg

The former Goossens brewery stopped producing beer and vinegar in 1928, after all the copper – and so the hop boilers too – were confiscated by the Germans during World War I. The building stood empty for many years, until in 2017 it was converted, with respect for the historical context, into a cosy neighbourhood inn, with local products on the menu and an adventurous garden where, in good weather, young and old can enjoy themselves. Nature-related activities are also regularly set up from the café. Open on Saturdays from 2pm and on Sundays from 11am.

Node 40

Brasserie 't Vertier

Brasserie 't Vertier and the adjacent Victorie room certainly date back to the early 19th century. It was an important home for local club life throughout the years. Today, it is a stylish brasserie with a diverse mix of classics on the menu. Those who just want a drink are also welcome. Open from Wednesday through Friday, Saturday evening and all day Sunday. 

Node 50 - 24

Kravaalbos

preview_Kravaalbos_Aalst-28.jpg
boshyacinten Kravaalbos Meldert © David Samyn (3).jpg
Kravaalbos Meldert © David Samyn (1).jpg
Kravaalbos Meldert © David Samyn (3).jpg
Kravaalbos Meldert © David Samyn (2).jpg

Via the Kiekenvilla, a former chicken farm, we end up in the Kravaalbos proper. Originally, all of Meldert lay amid the woods. During both world wars, large sections were cut down. The trees were used to reinforce German trenches and make charcoal for gunpowder, or were processed into fuel for vehicles. Later, the forest was replanted with American oak and sweet chestnut, which today are systematically giving way to native species. The forest enjoys special conservation status. Today, it is an ecologically valuable forest, where in the spring, woodland hyacinths provide a colourful spectacle.

End point

Node 47