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Schwalmbach valley and Bieley rock

Description

The Schwalmbach valley is a conservation area, 209 hectares in size, in the border region between Belgium and Germany. The source of the Schwalm is not far from the N658 between Rocherath and Wahlerscheid (D). The stream runs through the military zone and is fed by several small tributaries. After only a short section of about 5 kilometres, it crosses the border to Germany, being named the Perlenbach from then on because of the pearl oyster which lives in it. The meadows in the valley, low in nutrients, were used for haymaking for centuries, until the farmers abandoned these remote fields as uneconomical. In the ensuing period, the meadows were planted with fast-growing spruces and lost their original character. It was not until the culture and nature conservationalists of the German-Belgian Naturpark Hohes Venn-Eifel became active that policy changed and the old stream meadows, which are covered in spring with a carpet of yellow daffodils, were reclaimed. Having said that, throughout the year the Schwalmbach valley presents nature lovers and hikers with some magnificent scenery. One special attraction is the Bieley, an impressive rock high up above the valley. From there, a breathtaking view opens up out over the valley in which the wild Schwalmbach meanders. Because the rock is located in a security zone of the Elsenborn military training ground, access to the Bieley is regularly barred on account of firing practice. So, before visitors set foot in the area, they should make sure to find out whether or not any firing practice sessions are due to take place. The Bieley can be accessed most easily, though not exclusively, from the German side.

Information on closures: https://butgenbach.be/schiessuebungen-lager-elsenborn/

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