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Day Hike: The northern Condroz between Huy and Amay (22,9 km)

Date: Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

Path: GR576 + own route

Distance: 22,9 km

Ascent: 399m

Descent: 404m

The Ardennes Condroz is the most northerly part of this region and is situated against the Meuse river. I chose a part of the GR576 for this hike and added some self-chosen paths to make it a nice 24 kilometres. Actually I wanted to do the hike in the opposite direction, but due to a late departure from Brussels and problems with the train connection, a departure from Huy ('Hoei' in Dutch) was the most obvious way to get enough daylight.

At a little before 2 pm I leave the station area and follow the approach route towards the city centre. When I arrive at the river Meuse, the 19th century Fort of Huy rises above the city centre and the river. Instead of walking straight to the Grand Place, I decide to take a little detour to the fortress. It could never really fulfil its function as a defensive structure, because after Belgian independence it became a prison and the German occupiers locked up their opponents there during both World Wars. For the 1958 World Fair, a cable car was built from the other bank of the Meuse, across the fortress to Mont Mosan. In 2012, a low-flying helicopter hit the cables and crashed, killing two people. The cable car has been out of service ever since. Its reopening, first planned for the summer of 2020, has been postponed until February 2022, but it is not certain whether that date will be met.

Het "Middeleeuwse" Huy
The "medieval" Huy

It goes up quite steeply to the fortress. First via an asphalt road up to the main entrance. I don't go inside, but continue up a staircase and then plunge down again via a winding path towards the centre of Huy. Near the Grand Place of Huy are several small alleys with a medieval character. I would have liked to wander around here for a while, but my late arrival forces me to continue the hike.

The GR trail does its best to lead the hiker via quiet streets to the Bois de Tihange. For the Belgians Tihange is a familiar name. From the trail that runs along the edge of the forest, you can constantly see the much talked about nuclear power plant. Only after some seven kilometres the trail finally dives into the forests, up to the hamlet of Neuf-Bonniers. Here the GR trail follows an unfinished motorway. At the next hamlet, la Pâche, I leave the GR trail and walk straight ahead to Rausa. At the church I continue on the asphalt road to Saint-Jean-Sart, heading east. It leads to the Bois de Chaumont, where you'll find a little gem: Les Rochettes. Here, a rock towers above the little Neufmoulin stream. The rock is made of pudding stone and you can climb to the top along a tiny path. Be sure to be well on your feet, otherwise you may fall. Once at the top, I get to see the last rays of the sun before it disappears forever behind the horizon. I have to hurry a little.

Via a few beautiful forest paths, I reach the road to Ombret/Amay. I have to cross the road for about two hundred metres. At a parking place I dive into the forest. The path brings me back to La Pâche, where I left the GR576 earlier. There I pick up the GR trail again along wide muddy forest roads. Just before reaching Ombret I pass boulders along the side of the path. More pudding stones witness a river that would have flowed into the sea here millions of years ago.

In the last light of day I reach Ombret, where I pass the abandoned church (read more about it in this report) and the busy bridge over the Meuse to reach the railway station of Amay.

Do you also want to try this beautiful hike? Download the GPX of it here:

Huy-Amay -
Download GPX • 59KB

By public transport: Huy and Amay have train connections to Liège and Namur.

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