The GR 412 has been worked out as a tribute to the miners who have worked in the many mines in this region of Belgium. The route is almost 300 kilometers long and runs from Bernissart to Blegny-Mine through mining areas of the Borinage, the Center, Charleroi and Liège.
The GR 412 takes its number from the date of St Barbara’s Day (every 4th December), the miners’ votive feast day. From the Bernissart fire station to the Blegny mine, over 300 kilometres of hiking, the GR 412 takes you along the Walloon slag chain. A hiking route designed around the former coal mines. The landscapes of the slag chain are today among the most astonishing in Wallonia.
These man-made hills, built by the mining industry in the 19th and 20th centuries, are today considered monuments of natural and historical heritage. There are 330 large slag heaps out of the 900 that make up the landscape of the Haine-Sambre-Meuse furrow. At the foot of these slag heaps, discover or rediscover emblematic sites such as Grand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine, classified as World Heritage by Unesco, as well as other places linked to the memory of the men, women and children of the mines that contributed to the development of Belgium during the industrial revolution. You walk along waterways, sluices, lifts, paths and tracks that were once railway lines and industrial cathedrals. At the bend of the slag heaps and trails, the GR 412 crosses sites of great biological interest, inhabited by all those species that bring us back to nature in places where we do not expect it. Along the way you can meet naturalists, artists and photographers, historians and local enthusiasts.