Walk: Cascade de Coo
Comfortable 5.5 km route with beautiful views of the artificial lake
The entire route is asphalted, with no differences in level to overcome, and is perfectly accessible from prams or wheelchairs.
Refreshments available in Coo at the beginning and end of the walk
Drive towards the hamlet of Coo. You cross the Amblève river and immediately turn left, cross a bridge again and immediately turn right and after noticing the tourist service establishment, you will see a very large car park in front of you, which unfortunately has to be paid for (€ 1,5/h).
Walk in the direction of the dam. There are two options: either you take the stairs up to the dam, which is at the end in a corner on the right, or you walk along the dam on the asphalt road. You are now on your way around the lake.
As a pedestrian you are entitled to ignore the barriers. Keep the lake to your right and you will soon reach the Coo power station.
The Coo power station is 20 m below the surface, 128 m long, 27 m wide, 40 m high and is operated from Brussels.
Two upper basins are an integral part of the complex and are located on the Mont de Brume. The difference in level between the basins is 275 m. The purpose of the power station is to cope with the fluctuations between very high and very low energy needs and to complement the production of the Tihange power station. The 6 turbines can also be used as pumps and can then function as energy "accumulators" in the form of hydraulic power. When energy needs are low, water is pumped from the lower basin to the upper basin. When the need for electricity peaks, the process of hydro-energy generation is started.
The capacity of the pumps is 60 m3 per second for Coo I and 100 m3 per second for Coo II.
A little further on from the power station you will pass a helicopter landing site. Then you continue your way for a nice walk around the outer bend of the Amblève meander.
Afterwards, you reach a second dam which you will use to reach the other bank. All along the dam you will see some of the attractions of Plopsa Coo on your left.
Once you reach the end of the dam, you turn left and climb a little to reach a wider road where you turn left again and pass a cemetery and a church.
We advise you to set aside some time to enter the church of St Andrew, which dates from 1874. Be amazed by the bright colours of the stained glass windows and the decoration of the golden beams supporting the vault. The Way of the Cross was painted in 1931 by Reymen Nestor, a priest and founder of a painting school in Rahier. He was originally from Antheit, the birthplace of Paul Delvaux. It cannot be ruled out that this famous painter took lessons from the priest. The statue of the Holy Mary in oak was named "Virgin with a splinter" because it was carved from a single piece of oak wood, which showed traces of damage caused by a grenade. The sculptor Jean-Antoine Canada de Stavelot saw the symbolism in this: the Virgin is well aware of the suffering in the world.
Now is the time to visit the waterfalls and you have two options: either go down the stairs, which leave from the bridge in front of you, or go down the path at the height of the church to admire them from above.
These waterfalls on the Amblève are probably the most impressive waterfalls in Belgium, but with their limited height of 15 m they are not the highest. (This record is reserved for the Reinhardstein waterfall with its 60 m.)
In the 15th century the smallest waterfall developed in a natural way. In the 18th century the monks of Stavelot intervened in nature by creating the largest waterfall and at the same time cutting off a meander of the river in the hope of protecting the hamlet Petit-Coo from flooding.
In 1969 (followed by an extension in 1978) the blocked meander of the river was transformed into the lake you have just walked around.
Provided you are brave and not too tired, it is possible to complete the walk with a climb to the panoramic tower, which offers a superb view of the entire meander of the Amblève. To do this, continue the walk to the main road, cross it and look for the staircase that will allow you to start the climb. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket for Plopsa Coo and take the funicular to the tower.
Turn back and discover the attractive range of restaurants, hotels, pubs and cafés before walking straight to the car park. Let yourself be seduced by the charms of their terraces and enjoy exclusive moments of well-deserved relaxation.