Walking domain Grote Hof - Hobos takes you on a beautiful trip through the wonderful landscape. You are welcomed by a centuries old avenue of trees and the large lime tree in the central courtyard of the Grote Hof farmstead.
The farm itself dates back to the 12th century, but was converted into a nightclub, café and restaurant business in the 1970s, only retaining the original central part of the building which can still be seen today.
The Grote Hof walking routes lead to the mysterious Hobos, first mentioned all the way back in 1427. Ultimately meaning ‘high wood’, the name referred to its position higher than the surrounding areas. Over time the name changed from ‘higher-located wood’ to ‘Hoogbos’ (or ‘highwood’), which eventually became the shortened ‘Hobos’.
The area, which was originally made up of heathland, was gradually turned from fields for agriculture into pastures and land for forestry, making it the first land to see experimental forestry in North Limburg in 1867.
The local residents contributed to the domain’s mysterious character as well: local bailiff Clercx, who famously hunted after the legendary Bokkenrijders gang of highwaymen lived in the area. The last resident Marie-Anne Wilssens also played a major part in the development of the landscape, as the domain retained its authenticity, because she applied the Rational Grazing principles of French farmer André Voisin to her cattle husbandry in the Hobos woods.
Due to its authentic character the domain was recognised as a protected area for birds back in 1957 and eventually as a natural area in 2000. Since 2010 the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests and the municipality of Pelt have been its joint owners.
- Green Route: 2.5 km - Walk for children
- Blue Route: 7.1 km
- Red Route: 9.6 km
Extra: Child-friendly geocache ‘Fleeing Clercx the Bailiff’
Discover the nature around in a completely different way with the child-friendly geocache ‘Fleeing Clercx the Bailiff‘. Very strict and cruel local bailiff Clercx is hunting down the Bokkenrijders highwaymen of Limburg and has accused you of being one of them. You can only prove your innocence with the aid of the geocache…
Register on geocaching.com or download the PDF on www.nationaalparkbosland.be for this 6 km walk. If you don’t have your own satnav, the Pelt Tourist Board has some available for borrowing.
How to get there
The Grote Hof domain is located at Lindelsebaan 430 in Pelt, Belgium.
Enter co-ordinates N 51 10 24.2 E 5 23 53.4 or the Lindelsebaan-Winnerstraat crossroads into your satnav.