Kruislieveheer walking route
Kruislieveheer walking route
In a southern corner of the Flemish Ardennes, you hike through what's left of the former Poodsberg forest, which in the Middle Ages stretched between Everbeek and Ronse. Numerous crosses and chapels protect your spiritual welfare along the way.
Everbeek is situated on the language border and was part of the province of Hainaut until 1963. It consists of two separate residential areas - Everbeek-Boven and Everbeek-Beneden - and is therefore often referred to as a twin village. The original centre is situated in the so-called 'Beneden' Lower quarter. The residential core in Everbeek-Boven dates back to the 19th century. The most evocative spot is the walled cemetery behind the neo-Gothic Sint-Jozefs Church, right at the start of our route.
The Steenberg Forest was part of a larger forest belt in the region until the early Middle Ages. The forest descends a 30-metre deep slope and extends over a dozen acres. Its steep and unstable soil with springs and streams made it unsuitable for agriculture, so it has remained intact over the centuries. Today it is a precious natural area, where spring flowers including snowdrops, wood anemones and wood hyacinths add a lot of colour during early spring.
CRUCIFIXES AND CHAPELS
What Everbeek lacks in major attractions, it more than makes up for in the plentiful crucifixes and chapels that dot the landscape. You'll find them in all sizes and forms, accompanied by a tree or otherwise. The crucifix in the field along the Priemstraat is flanked by two old lime trees, and sits at the top of an agricutural field with an endless view of the region.
The area around Everbeek is dotted with expansive woodlands and small groves that make up the Everbeek Forests. The Kollebroeken is just one of those: not very large, but with abundant natural wealth. The lower parts of the forest are flooded during early spring. In spring you'll find blooming marigolds, while wood anemones and wood hyacinths seek higher ground. All spring long, flowering trees and shrubs - hazel, blackthorn, bilberry and hawthorn - create a lush springtime vibe there.
CHAPEL OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE
At the edge of the Kollebroeken stands another chapel, built in 1855 by Rosalie Clinquant as the resting place for her late husband.
Via the flower-filled banks of the Terkleppebeek, you'll end up in the charming village centre of Everbeek-Beneden. Look out for the curious sundial in the southern exterior wall of the 18th-century Sint-Maria Church. The stone from where the village constable read out the "announcements to the public" back in the day still remains intact. Also worth checking out is the walled d'Harveng Castle, an eclectic residence from around 1900, named after the family of notaries that resided there at the time.
't Fameus Verleden
Almost an inevitable stop, about halfway along the route, is restaurant 't Fameus Verleden, the place for Everbeek residents to meet up since 1902. Originally, the café also housed a paint store. The painter created the beautiful ceiling in the 'schone plaats'. Today you can still quench your thirst or satisfy your hunger, in an interior that has remained largely intact, or in the shade of the trees on the cozy garden terrace.
Via a footpath with the unusual name of Tiep-Tiap, you reach a little park that at first glance seems to be private property. It is part of the public domain though. The Tiep-Tiap used to be a so-called 'servituut': an access road for farmers to their pastures and fields. It is also the name of the hill whose summit is in Everbeek-Boven and which is popular among touring cyclists.
On the flanks of the valley at Terkleppebeek, which finds its source in the Trimpont Forest, you will find several more smaller but precious groves, one of which you cross at the end of your route. Beech and native oak predominate here, alongside alder and ash groves in the lower valley areas and white carpets of wild garlic in spring. Only one tenth of the forest area is owned by Natuurpunt, meaning that its future is uncertain.
Back in Everbeek-Boven, you won't have to think long about the final stop. Het Meiklokje, in the shadow of the Sint-Jozefs Church, is the only café in the village and a rewarding stopping point for hikers and cycling tourists.