Heritage Mondays: the Sonian Forest

Heritage Mondays: the Sonian Forest

To mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18 April, this year dedicated to Heritage and Climate", discover with us Brussels’ heritage and its relationship with climate change. Today, we go for a walk in the Sonian Forest! 

  • You already know the Sonian Forest, that impressive green area that stretches into all three of Belgium’s regions. But did you also know that it is registered - in part - on the UNESCO World Heritage List? This forest of beech trees, or "cathedral beech", which so impresses visitors, was introduced at the end of the 18th century. At that time, the forest still covered close to 10,000ha! Its current surface area stretches covers approximately 4,400ha... 

    The ancient beech trees that populate the majority of the forest are becoming weakened by climate change. But don't panic, as any change can be dealt with, particularly if it is detected early! In the decades to come, the tree species will have to be diversified by favouring those that are more resistant to the expected changes, such as sessile oaks and lime trees. The planting of beech trees will not be abandoned, but it will be done in smaller numbers in order to guarantee that the splendid natural heritage of the Sonian Forest lives on as long as possible! 

    In 2015, the Sonian Forest was designated as a Natura 2000 area. This European network of natural or semi-natural sites ensures efforts are made to maintain the diversity of natural environments and improve their quality. 

    The Sonian Forest is also one of Brussels’ greatest treasures and is teeming with places to discover, each more beautiful than the next! There’s Boitsfort’s former racecourse, the Rouge Cloître, Tournay-Solvay Park, the Bois de la Cambre, the Monument to the Forestry Workers, the Memorial to the victims of the 2016 terror attacks, Trois-Fontaines Castle, the AfricaMuseum, and much more. You'll never get tired of it!