Liaison – Les Hautes-Rivières, Nohan, Thilay, Haulmé

À Thilay

A - Canoeing & kayaking: practical information

Boarding and landing :

Village of Nohan-sur-Semoy

- Area of campsite  Le Faucon (right bank)

Village of Thilay

- Area of Thilay (200 meters upstream from the bridge, right bank)

À Nohan

B - Linchamps Castle

It is said that the ghost of the last chatelaine still haunts this place, resting in a crevice in the ruins of an old tower called the spinner’s chair. Some evenings, you can still hear her spinning wheel turning.Learn more


When ridge becomes rampart

The remains of the fortified castle can be reached from Naux. This walk reveals the arabesques shaped by the Semoy, between sheer cliffs and vast beech forests. The ridge above the valley is truly superb. Allow three hours for 8.5 kilometres.


Practical details

Distance: 8.5 km

Waymarking: white/red

Difficulty: average

Time: 3 h

Start: from Naux, cross the footbridge and follow the old railway bed along the river.

To go further afield…

Topo guide, Les Ardennes à pied (The Ardennes on foot), published by the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre (French Hiking Federation). Walk No 8.

Did you know?

1530: this was a cruel, murky period of history. Francis I was constantly in conflict with Charles V. Banished from his land, Jean de Louvain took advantage of their rivalry and built this fortress on the fringes of the kingdom. He hired mercenaries to carry out raids on the Holy Roman Empire. Much later on, he spread terror throughout the heart of the Semoy valley, demanding tolls from boats carrying wood. The gloomy fortress was destroyed on the orders of Louis XIV and all that remain are a few steps hewn out of the rock.

À Les Hautes rivières

C - The ‘Roche du Saut Thibault’

Legend has it that a certain Lord Thibault, fleeing on horseback and pursued by his enemies, spurred on his mount so vigorously that it crossed the river in a single bound, leaving the imprint of its horseshoes in the rock.


A narrow path leads to the summit of the rock, opening out onto a superb view over the valley of St Jean.

Access: from Les Hautes-Rivières, take the narrow route at the bottom of the valley (for about two kilometres) towards the little village of Linchamps.

À Les Hautes rivières

D - The Roche Margaut

Just a few strides will take you to the beauty spot overlooking the commune of Les Hautes-Rivières.

Access: from the centre of the village, follow the signs.

À Les Hautes-Rivières

E - Forges at home

There was nothing touristic about the Semoy in Rimbaud’s time. People survived there by turning to smuggling, by cutting tobacco plants using a copou or by making nails. In Les Hautes-Rivières, as in all the villages of the Semoy, noise and smoke emerged from workplaces set up in homes, where people made nails, never-endingly. This home-made metallurgy is said to have been imported by the people of Liège, chased out by Charles the Bold in 1467. An activity which, during the winter, enabled the woodcutters and rafter quite simply to survive. So they lit the forge and a dog operated the bellows by running to turn a wheel: a working dog doing dog’s work! And they ‘made nails’: there were over 700 nail makers in Les Hautes-Rivières in around 1850. This exhausting work, in the midst of sulphurous vapours, wore men out before their time. Rimbaud saw the Semoy as a valley of misery.

Did you know?

The nuts and bolts of the Eiffel Tower come from the work of the Ardennes forges, acknowledged for the high standard of their know-how. If the Tower is still standing, this is certainly due to the quality of the parts produced in the workplaces of the Semoy and the Meuse!

À Les Hautes-Rivières

F - Walking

The nail makers walk

Following this walk that leads to some lovely beauty spots, including the ‘Croix de l’Enfer’ and the ‘Roche Margot’, you will discover a region that does not ignore its industrial past.

In Les Hautes-Rivières, the path climbs suddenly to the panoramic view of the Croix de l’Enfer, encircled by a forest, surely one of the loveliest when adorned with its autumnal hues. Further on, following part of the Grande Randonnée hiking trail, the village has not forgotten its metallurgical tradition … During the week, the sound of pestles in the forge can still be heard in the Semoy valley, deafening and repetitive. Men still hammer iron: even today, these heirs of the nail makers continue to supply the cutting-edge automobile or aviation industries. The valley of Quality has not lost its reputation.


Practical details

Distance: 6.5 km

Waymarking: yellow, then white/red (GR)

Difficulty: easy

Time: 3 h

Start: from place de la Mairie, cross the bridge over the Semoy. Follow the path along the riverside that climbs along the rocks.

To go further afield…

Topo guide, Les Ardennes à pied (The Ardennes on foot), published by the French Hiking Federation. Walk No 7.