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Steenberg forests

  • Author: TrailExplorer

Steenberg forests

This beautiful walk in the hilly landscape of the Zwalm Valley goes from Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove to the Steenberg forests with numerous springs and seepage zones. Then it continues through an open landscape with beautiful views in the direction of Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove. Just in front of this small village you walk in the direction of the miner's path and the Boterhoek nature reserve. A small part is followed on the banks of the Zwalm to arrive at the Berendries, a well-known climb from the Tour of Flanders.

Distance: 12 km.

Time: 3h30.

Grade: Moderate.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: 242 meters.

Trail: Paved and unpaved.

Marking: Walking nodes.

Hiking shoes recommended.


From the church in Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove you immediately walk on unpaved paths in the direction of the Steenberg forests. From there you walk further through a varied hilly landscape with beautiful views in the direction of Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove. Just in front of this small village you will turn in the direction of the Zwalm valley. You follow a small part of the miners' path, an old railway line that connected the Flemish Ardennes with the mines in the Borinage at the beginning of the 20th century. If you leave this path you will soon reach the Boterhoek nature reserve, a green patchwork of brook valley forests, grasslands and swampy areas. The route continues along the banks of the Zwalm in the direction of Michelbeke. Here the route follows a small part of the famous Berendries, with a maximum ascent of 14%. Once you have completed the steep climb, you will be presented with a fantastic panorama with the church towers of Nederbrakel and Opbrakel as landmarks. On the last part you will pass a crucifix with linden and yew.

Steenberg forests

Download PDf for nodes to follow.

Some paths can be very soggy.

Map & Poi's.

POI 1 - Steenberg forests.

The Steenberg forests form a beautiful mixed hilly landscape of forests, meadows, fields, small landscape elements, spring streams and seepage areas. The varied subsoil of the Steenberg forests, with more than 26 different soil types, ensures that many different plant species find a home there. What makes the Steenbergse forests so special are the numerous springs and seepage zones that bring up lime or iron from the soil, so that you can also find seepage species such as Eenbes, Giant horse tail and Dotter flower. The many spring water comes together in the Karnemelkbeek and the Erwetegembeek. Because of their superior water quality, the small spring streams that transport seepage and spring water to the larger streams are ideal habitats for all kinds of aquatic animals. Larvae of damselfly damselflies, stone flies and haften need very pure water and therefore still occur en masse in the Steenberg forests. These larvae are the food of a special fish, the Rivierdonderpad, which is found in the larger streams.


POI 2 - Miners Path.

The miners path follows the bed of the old railway line 82, which ran from Zottegem to Ronse in the early 20th century. Thousands of workers were transported via this track to Hainaut to work there in the Walloon coal basin.

No extra information.

POI 3 - The Zwalm valley.

The river Zwalm meanders in the relief-rich landscape of the Flemish Ardennes. The sources of the Zwalm are close to the border with Hainaut. The river makes its way further and it flows into the Upper Scheldt. Over the entire course, it is fed by various, often calcareous, brooks that originate on the valley flanks.