Description of the area
Raspaillebos is a nature reserve in the Flemish Ardennes in the south of East Flanders. The wood is located in the municipality of Geraardsbergen, near the provincial border with Galmaarden. You can hike here to your hearts content.
As a remnant of the large Kolenwoud, Raspaillebos forms an integral part of the Moerbekebos, Karkoolbos and Kluisbos. During the Second World War, the area was all but deforested. As it was never farmed, it kept its plant wealth.
Walking in Raspaillebos offers something for everyone. The southern edge of the wood is one large source amphitheatre. In each fold of the slope, calcareous water seeps out of the ground and brooks appear. This is where rich flora develops, which in spring, forms a patchwork of blues, whites and yellows. On the top of the Bosberg hill, you have a magnificent view over the Dender and Mark Valley. A panorama with dozens of church spires stretches out right up to the Brussels horizon.
Animals and plants
From early until late spring, the forest turns yellow, white and purple with wild narcissus, anemone nemorosa, periwinkle, bluebells and ramsons. The soft spring green of the beech trees changes in summer into deep green and turns yellowish brown in autumn.
Especially along the pathways in the woods, the copse create a perfect environment for rare wood butterflies, like white-letter hairstreak, purple hairstreak and limenitis camilla. Even the silver-washed fritillary, the purple emperor and the wood white butterfly have been known to put in an appearance in the summer.
The fire salamander is also given new opportunities through small interventions along the spring brooks. During the day, the salamander hides under stones, tree trunks or in old mouse burrows. They hunt at night. Only when it rains, can they be seen during the daytime.