Natural Park of Gaume
The Natural Park of Gaume is located in the south of the Province of Luxembourg on the French border and 35 km from Luxembourg city.
Gaume benefits from a micro-climate, sweeter than the rest of the Ardennes
Gaume is the romanesque part of Belgian Lorraine. It is not an administrative region of Belgium but a historico-geographic region forming a strong cultural identity. It is a French-speaking region, with a romance regional language, "the gaumais", which is part of the romance dialects of Lorraine, one of the languages identified by the linguistic Atlas of Wallonia.
Land of sun with rich and varied landscapes, the Gaume is an essentially rural territory. What strikes the eye first is its relief in cuestas, quite specific. Three coasts that stretch from north to south: a steep coast front crowned with forests followed by a gently sloping reverse, occupied either by crops or lower down to the valleys by permanent meadow.
The microclimate of Gaume is known to be much sweeter than the rest of the Ardennes which overlooks it to the north and the little cicada of the mountains and the praying mantis still haunt the slopes of Torgny, the most southern village in Belgium.
Gaume is a country of forests and agriculture (respectively 47% and 31% of the territory). The forest is one of the most beautiful in the Kingdom: a high biodiversity beech forest in natural regeneration. The agricultural areas, 80% of which are devolved to the meadow, make the Gaume a breeding country (the "Beef of the Gauman meadows" is a recognized label).
These meadows host an important biodiversity whose jewels are the meager mowing meadows of the Semois which shelter patrimonial species such as orchids, the very rare and magnificent aconite napel.
Free or pruned hedgerows, old and new orchards punctuate the landscape of our gentle hills and are all shelters and roads for the gray shrike or the little rhinolophe. The Gaume is also renowned for the incomparable taste of its fruits, apples and pears. The trend is actually in the replanting of fruit trees.
The main rivers flow from east to west and are Semois, Vire and Ton. They are slow-moving rivers, forming vast meanders that sometimes overlap, leaving valleys also sheltering a specific fauna and flora. The beaver, once very abundant, is reclaiming its former territories by recolonizing these streams.
Beavers are back !
Other specificities related to the particular geology of the Gaume are remarkable. The numerous ponds and mardelles in the Semois and Rulles valley are home to the only population of crested newts in Belgium thanks to restoration and digging of water points in the pastures.
These water points are home to a rare fauna and flora: amphibians, insects, reptiles, etc. Another geological peculiarity, the crons are incrustating sources that deposit their dissolved limestone into bulges that can become spectacular if they are given time and which also harbor a rare flora and fauna.
The water quality of Gaume is excellent, and Nestlé Waters makes no mistake because it has installed a bottling plant in Etalle. Finally, the old abandoned quarries and especially those of Torgny harbor the very rare lizard of the strains, which is found only in Gaume in the country.
The park in numbers
Area: 58.104 ha (44.000 inhabitants, 9 communities)
Number of Natura 2000 sites: 18
Number of State Natural Reserves: 14
Number of wetlands of biological interest: 8
Number of Private Nature Reserves Approved or in the process of being accredited: 10
Marked hiking trails: +/- 160 routes
Tagged mountain bike trails: +/- 30 routes
Specificities of the natural environments: Cuestas, meadow mowing of the Semois, caclaire lawn, ponds and mardelles, a beech forest with high biodiversity in natural regeneration, ...
Symbolic species: stony lizard, crested newt, gray shrike, little rhinolophe, little mountain cicada and praying mantis.