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The limestone lawns are an inseparable part of the Calestienne and Viroin valleys, with their processions of flowers and short grass on steep slopes.

Shaped by nature and man, these limestone lawns are the result of a combination of a thin soil rich in calcium carbonate, optimal sunshine and the practice, until the beginning of the 19th century, of extensive grazing.

Every morning, the village’s flock was entrusted to a shepherd who took them to graze on the grassy slopes of the tiennes (limestone hills). Sheep and goats thus prevented the regrowth of plants. With the abandonment of these traditional practices, most of the limestone grasslands have been spontaneously recolonised by the forest.

Witnesses of agropastoral practices that are no longer in use, the limestone lawns are now the subject of management measures aimed at preserving their great biological wealth, since over time they have developed an exceptional biodiversity composed of rare species, including many sub-Mediterranean species.

In addition to their considerable ecological value, these limestone lawns constitute a historical and landscape heritage to be protected and enhanced.

For more information, see our heritage sheet.

Practical information


Route de la Plate Taille, 99 – 6440 Boussu-lez-Walcourt

+32(0)71/14 34 83 


Rue Vieille Église, 5 – 5670 Nismes

+32(0)60/31 16 35 

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The association Les Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie (The Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia) oversees a network of 32 villages, bearers of a strong territorial identity and reflecting traditional architecture. It is committed to promoting the rural, cultural and natural heritage of Wallonia and is a part of the development of local and responsible tourism.

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