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Meuse & Bocq

The Yvoir district is structured by two aspects:

  • rural villages on the Condroz plateau on either side of the picturesque  Bocq valley, an industrial area with quarries, the Purnode brewery,  water-based  industry, etc.
  • the more well-appointed localities of Godinne and Yvoir, set in a fragment of the the sumptuous Meuse Valley, overlooked by the Poilvache ruins.

The Meuse

The Meuse rises on the Langres plateau in Champagne-Ardenne in France. It then enters Lorraine and runs through the départements of the Vosges and the Meuse, which is named after it. In Belgium, it runs through the provinces of Namur and Liège, going through Hastière, Dinant, Yvoir, Namur, Andenne, Huy, Seraing, Liège and Visé. Then, after flowing through the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands, it heads for the German border. Along with the Rhine, it forms a broad delta and flows into the North Sea near Rotterdam.

The Bocq

The Bocq, an impetuous, seductive and secretive stream, rises at Scy (in the municipality of Hamois). It flows into the Meuse (on the right bank) at Yvoir, after a journey of some 40 kilometres. Its beauty combines with the splendour of the valley down which its waters cascade. This scene exudes magnificent charm, in addition to the picturesque settings of the humble villages nestling on the winding banks or perched on the hillsides and crests.

Etymology and Geography

The course of the crystal clear waters of the Bocq runs for over 90km. Why does one of our most attractive rivers have such an awful name? It has absolutely nothing in common with the fetid-smelling animal known to the Wallonese as a "bouc" (the "billy goat"), bred to drive the noxious air out of stables. In the olden days it was named after each of the villages on its banks in turn. It was the stream of Mohiville, Hamois, Emptinne, Spontin, the brook of Barche (Bauche), the river of Oire (Yvoir) and before that, Pauléa (the damp place).

It runs from east to west. From Mohiville where it rises, it runs through Achet, Hamois, Emptinne, Lienne (the hamlet of Ciney) and Braibant. At this point it is joined by the less grandiose St Remacle stream, which flows down from Schaltin. As it broadens, it arrives at Spontin, continues its winding course through Dorinne and Evrehailles-Bauche and is more impetuous than ever when it reaches Yvoir, where its bubbling waters pour into the Meuse.

From where it rises right to the end of its course, it always has the same natural, untamed look, with the turbulent, unsubmissive nature which gives it all its charm.

Its bed is shallow, rocky and uneven. The rough limestone masses in the regions it runs through force it to take numerous detours. Each of its bends takes it into new scenery: green hills, topped with dark woods, steep rocks with fantastic shapes - and immortal legends - grasslands with bushy grass, forming an enclosure for the dark-trunked poplar trees like a massive fence.

The main tributary of the Bocq is the Crupet. It rises in the village which bears its name. Its 3-kilometre long course runs through steep-sloped, wooded hills. Although it is less grandiose than the Bocq, it has the same untamed beauty.

Yvoir, at the mouth of the Bocq, forms a link between this stream and the Meuse. On the one hand lies the majestic tranquillity and grandiose beauty of the river; on the other, the gentle harmony of the villages and the unruly lines of the banks of the turbulent stream.