Landscape

With a height between 50 and 100 meters, the ‘Hoge Kempen’ National Park situates itself on the highest part of the ‘Kempen’. The area mainly consists of rubble and boulders brought in by the Meuse from the Ardennes during the last Ice Age. This makes the region unique in Flanders, being the only region with boulders from different sizes and material.

The sandy soil, mixed with gravel, is very poor, therefore the main form of agriculture used to be herding sheep and cows. To ensure there was enough food or to create ground coverage for the stables, the vegetation was periodically burned or mowed down. These practice resulted in the typical West-European heath land.

Besides the heath land with its land dunes and the moorlands with its pools and peat moors, you will mainly find pine forests in the ‘Hoge Kempen’ National Park. These forests where originally created to satisfy the demand for support beams for the coalmines. Nowadays the pine forests are converted back to more natural deciduous forests.

In the east, the river Meuse has scoured out a valley of 60 meter deep, creating a large relief in this area. Together with the boulders of the Meuse, the sand and gravel quarries (up to 30m deep) form a geological “open air museum”, unique in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.