After a day’s gentle meander along the river Meuse towpath, we turned our hired bikes towards the hills, climbing up the wooded valley of the river Goutelle towards the villages of Gepunsart and Pussemange. It was a cool, cloudy day, not great for photography but ideal for cycling.
Over the border into Belgium the smooth, empty road continued to wind up through the forest until we reached the highest point of our ride at a crossroads in an unexceptional stretch of farmland. From there it was downhill all the way to Bohan in the valley of the river Semois.
The church, town hall and market square of Gepunsart. The village was a busy nail making centre in the early nineteenth century, before factory production took over the trade.
Tobacco drying barns in the Semois valley near Bohan – one of the few places in Belgium where the crop is still cultivated.
A quiet road along the river Semois – the surviving local steel works are small and specialised.
The wide, shallow river Semois in its green valley.
Looking the other way from the previous viewpoint.
An old steam hammer in the grounds of the Ardennes metallurgy museum. The Meuse and Semois valleys are only green and peaceful because most of their local industry has closed down. Local unemployment stands at more than 50%
A few of the lock keeper’s bird feeders at Joigny sur Meuse. A walk or bike ride along the river valley is accompanied by an ever changing background of bird song and calls.
Back to our starting point at Nouzonville.
(Click on any photo to view the gallery)
From Bohan we followed the Semois down to its confluence with the river Meuse, a point we’d passed on our previous day’s meander. Two days cycling in this peaceful region has left us planning future trips to explore further, perhaps in autumn when it’s not quite so green!