Walk: Fagne Polleur
Relais des Fagnes-Villa Sérénité-Pont du Centenaire-Fagne Polleur-Rue des Mousseus-Fagnes Grand Biseu-Beau Site-Baronheid-Relais des Fagnes
Varied 11 km walk, which allows you to get to know the region better by crossing two types of "Fagnes": on the one hand, along the Hoëgne river and, on the other, along the Ravel (Autonomous Network of Slow Ways).
Not suitable for children's cars and disabled people.
On the route, which is always muddy and slippery, appropriate footwear is required (waterproof/non-slip).
Possibility to take a break half way in Hockai (Ardennes Café with wide opening hours) and in the Beau Site Hotel (usually open during the WE)
At the exit of the Relais des Fagnes, on the Route de Hockai, you turn right and drive towards the village until you see the sign indicating “Hockai” and you notice the speed limit of 50 km on the asphalt. Here a rural path starts on your left, which you should take. Sometimes this path does not allow a normal passage and in this case you simply continue a little further to take the next more comfortable rural road which also leads you to the holiday home, the "Villa Serenity".
Follow the asphalt road, which leads to a small bridge which you have to cross. You pass over the old railway line N°44 which linked Pépinster to Stavelot. Since 1973 there are no more trains passing by and even the rails have disappeared, because most of the route has been transformed into a cycle track and footpath, to integrate it in the Ravel network (Réseau Autonome des Voies Lentes).
Going straight on, you start your descent towards the Hoëgne. This river has its source on the heights of Mount Rigi at an altitude of 600 m and starts its life by the name of Polleur. About 5 km further on is the confluence of the Polleur and the Herbofaye. The Herbofaye has its source in the vicinity of the Baraque Michel. From the confluence this river continues its course for 25 km under the name of the Hoëgne and then flows into the Vesdre.
Cross the Hoëgne by the picturesque bridge called "Pont du Centenaire", continue to walk straight ahead and then continue on the stony path, until the first crossroads. Here you turn right. Now you will follow the river Hoëgne upstream for quite some time (depending on the season you will either see or hear it). You will walk through a rather dark wood until you reach a bridge. This area is known as "Fagne Polleur" (the old name of the Hoëgne).
Cross the bridge and then turn right onto the small asphalt road. You will walk for quite a long time on this road, ignoring any crossroads, until you reach a much larger road linking Xhoffraix to Hockai. You will cross it to take the rural path opposite.
Very soon you will see a crucifix and a resting bench. Here you turn left. A little further on you follow the signs with the red squares and keep to the right. The walk now takes you for a long time through the woods on a mainly downhill route. You are now walking through "Les Fagnes Grand Biseu", described by the Walloon Region as a "Site of great interest for biodiversity".
At the T-junction, turn right (red squares) and you will arrive on the Chemin Grand Biseu. Turn right here and a little further on - on your right - you will notice the stele erected for Lucien Hock, "painter of the fens". This 20th century master, born in 1899 and deceased in 1972, is considered one of the great Walloon landscape painters.
Continue towards the church of Hockai and take a moment to look for the stele for Léon Rinquet, nicknamed "the Negus" (because of his resemblance to the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I - °1891 emperor in 1930 - who bore this title), more or less opposite the church. The bas-relief dates from 1984 and was made by G. Leven. Rinquet was a professor of physics and mathematics who, after a personal tragedy in his life, wanted to retire like a true "fagnard" to the solitude of the fens. However, fate was not in his favour. After three failed attempts to settle down in an isolated hut in the middle of the fens - his first building caught fire, the second was destroyed during the Second World War and the third collapsed under the weight of the snow - fate led him to end his life in Hockai and Xhoffraix.
Now it's time for a break: either at the Ardennes café or at the Beau Site hotel on the other side of the bridge.
After the break you have to look for the path next to the blue bridge of Hockai, which allows you to go down to the RAVeL, which passes under the bridge. At the bottom of the bridge you turn right and follow the RAVeL in the direction of Francorchamps.
You walk to the first crossroads. Here you turn right and you will notice that the path climbs and requires some effort. Once you reach the main road, you cross it carefully and go a little to the left and then to the right where the climb again requires a serious effort. Your road soon bends to the left and at the crossroads at house number 411 you turn right. Your asphalt road now becomes a country road.
Continuing your walk you will come to a point where three paths meet. Here you choose the path on the left. At the next fork in the road you turn right and now it is time to start looking for the path on your left that will lead you in a straight line to the "Relais des Fagnes". This small path (depending a little on the season) is not always very visible between the bushes.