Things to see, once or maybe twice in a lifetime, when you are living in Houthalen-Helchteren.
I was surprised when I saw a group of 7 Wild Boar foraging the forests in my home town. Normally they don’t occur here, they probably escaped somewhere and started a wild adventure.
The bird reserve "De Wielewaal" is situated inside the Kelchterhoef domain near the pool of the Abdijhoeve. This place was created to protect the Wielewaal bird, but there are so many other bird species benefiting this protected area.
The "Kraanberg" domain forest in Helchteren is located in the REMO-Stakeberg-Helchteren forest area.
This place is an ideal starting point for hiking trips in the area.
There are no hiking trails or drinking facilities in this part of town.
Directions: Near the "Hoeverheide" villa.
You can find cycle routes everywhere in the city connected with the neighbouring cities.
They are all a part of the great “Cycle Route Network” covering the whole province Limburg.
But horses are also welcome as you can see.
The easiest way to explore the area is by foot.
But it's also easy to get lost, so I advice you to buy a hiking- or topographic map at the tourist office (V.V.V) in Houthalen.
There are no specific hiking trails, but there is so much to see even if you go your own way.
Heater plains, pine forests, birdlife, leaf forests, pools and lots of small mammals.
Inside the Helchteren forest-Remo-Stakeberg area you'll find an old coal mountain, one part of the hill is a reserve, while the other part is used for recreation (hiking, mountain biking, picnics,...).
There's an abundant of wildlife in the surrounding areas witch are easily to spot when you're patient.
Inside the Ten Haagdoornheide Reserve/Hengelhoef Recreation Park area you'll find a sheep farm.
Here you can buy some artisan sheep products if you're lucky.
The sheep roam the plains semi-freely and while you're walking on the hiking trails you'll probably come across these unique sheep.
They keep the small heater eco-system intact, because they only eat the special heater grass.
Directions: Donderslagweg z/n
The winter months in Helchteren could be very fascinating and typical Swiss.
A walk in the area is the best way to observe the changed scenery.
Strong, warm and waterproof boots and clothing are recommended.
Within the borders of the "Kelchterhoef" domain you will find a children's farm, with a variety of small animals(goats, chickens, sheep,...)
During your trip in the "Remo-Stakeberg-Helchteren forest" area you can come across several discharged military vehicles.
They are used as target, so watch out!!!
You'll find these hideouts in forested areas, normally they're used by hunters and poachers.
Don't forget your camera and binoculars, it will make things easier.