An old reforested quarry north of Brussels


When we talk about nature reserves, we do not immediately think of Brussels. However, to the north of the capital, there is a rural, forested area of more than 120 hectares, straddling the municipalities of Jette and Ganshoren: the Poelbosch nature reserve.

The area was planted with trees, beeches and oaks by the monks of Dieleghem Abbey on the site of an old calcareous sandstone quarry that had become unusable due to recurrent floods. In the past, this quarry had provided quality stone used not only for the construction of monastic buildings, but also for the construction of St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral and the Coudenberg Palace. Together with Laerbeek and Dieleghem woods, Roi Baudouin Park and the Jette and Ganshoren marshes, it is part of a vast green complex in the Molenbeek valley managed by Brussels Environment IBGE.

The fauna and flora of Poelbosch are exceptional, and the luckiest walkers might come across a kingfisher or grass snake. Other attractions include a hop field, a Gallo-Roman villa, the bee garden, the children's farm and, of course, the ruins of the abbey, of which only the Abbot's lodging has survived time and history.

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