This pleasant and easy ramble takes you through the gently undulating countryside of Hoffelt (lux. Houfelt) and Hachiville (lux. Helzen), in northern Luxembourg. The topography of this area is due to the presence of the Meuse-Rhine divide.
Start the walk in the village centre of Hoffelt near the “Barteshaus” guesthouse. Head west through the artificial valley of the “Houfelter Kanal” part of an ambitious industrial project dating back to the beginning of the XIXth century.
Wilhelm I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1815 to 1840, wanted to boost the economy of the underdeveloped and poor southern provinces of his kingdom by the construction of a canal through the Ardennes, linking the Meuse river in Belgium near Liège with the Moselle (and the Rhine). The project was thought to provide the Netherlands with mining resources from Luxembourg too. The works started in 1827 and had to be stopped in 1830, due to geopolitical instabilities (Belgian Revolution). Today, the ancient construction site is still visible through huge dumps of excavation material and overgrown rubble piles.
Continue on the farm track, then turn right and follow the Belgian border through corn and potato fields. On the edge of a forest, reach the gurgling Saint Thomas well and the “Helzer Klaus” chapel, a major place of pilgrimage, constructed according to a papal bull from 1474. A precious wooden, late Gothic retable (early XVIth century), originally kept in the chapel, is now shown in the parish church of Hachiville. The altarpiece displayed in the chapel is a plaster copy of the original masterpiece.
After the stop at the chapel, keep going through the “Helzerbësch” wood and get back to the open countryside with magnificent sights of the surrounding scenery. Cross the village of Hachiville and don’t miss stopping at the church with its characteristic onion dome to visit the mentioned retable of the “Helzer Klaus”. Also take a closer look at the marvellous Baroque main altar and the Rococo side altars.
Finally, return to the starting point in Hoffelt.
AP Hoffelt (12,5 km – Auto Pedestre)
Date of the walk: December 4, 2016
Duration: 2 h 30 min
Elevation: 439-513 m
Level: very easy (2/10)
Walking ground quality: excellent