Around Saint-Omer and, more broadly, in Audomarois, lovers of nature outings will find what they are looking for. Several destinations are particularly popular in the Pays de Saint-Omer. A must of course remains the visits of the marsh by boat, which we offer with the discovery of the shipyard.

Nature lovers also enjoy walks and hikes in the Clairmarais forest, on the basin path or on the Lansbergue path between Tilques and Serques. Our territory also conceals two natural parks worthy of attention. The Romelaere Nature Reserve, on the one hand, with its 2,5 km of footpath, as well as the nature reserve of the limestone hillsides of the Aa valley located in Lumbres, 20 minutes from us.

For a day of immersion in nature, we have concocted a small program for you. This one is likely to appeal to experienced hikers as well as walkers who simply like to stroll on the small paths.

Early in the morning: Hike on the path of the basin and discovery of the Romelaere reserve

Early in the morning, nature awakens. The ducks and the coots are out, the heron is fishing on the lookout, the kingfisher is twirling around in search of prey….

Do not hesitate to walk all or part of the path of the basin. 16 km long, it allows you to discover the Clairmarais marshes, the Booneghem area, the village of Nieurlet or that of Clairmarais and its forest... A beautiful walk between marshy land, water and forest environments on landscaped hiking trails. The walk lasts 4 hours, but it is also possible to do only the Booneghem area from the Grange Nature and retrace your steps.

Discover here the guide hike on the basin trail.

The village of Clairmarais also conceals the magnificent Romelaere Reserve. Spread over a hundred hectares, this reserve is the heart of the biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO. 2,5 km of paths give you a unique view of the small watergangs and the old peat bogs, now resembling 30 hectares of ponds. An unmissable one-and-a-half-hour visit for ornithologists and other nature enthusiasts.

Romelaere reserve in Clairmarais
The Romelaere reserve – Photo: Philippe Hudelle

Lunch: enjoy a typical meal from the region

Time passes quickly, and walking digs into your stomach. In Clairmarais and Saint-Omer, many restaurants open their doors to you and offer regional menus with seasonal products.

Les Faiseurs de Bateaux, located between Clairmarais and Saint-Omer, also have an outdoor restaurant bar (in a marquee in case of rain). You can taste market garden menus and other specialties at the water's edge (on reservation).

Meal at the water's edge St Omer
Les Piquinettes, a good table for Boat Makers in St Omer – Philippe Hudelle photographer

Early afternoon: sail on the marsh

Departing from the quays of the Makers of Boats, embark on a beautiful guided tour of the inhabited marsh and market gardeners, as well as the old suburbs of Saint-Omer. On your return, the craftsmen open the doors of their shipyard and their exhibitions of old tools (duration: 2 hours). Nothing better to rest and digest while immersing yourself in unique landscapes.

You can also rent a rowing or electric boat, or a Canadian canoe to navigate freely using a map.

Guided tour of the Saint-Omer marshes – Philippe Hudelle Photographer

Mid – late afternoon – Walk in the forest of Clairmarais

Do you have any strength left? Do not hesitate to return to Clairmarais for a short walk in the heart of the Rihoult-Clairmarais forest. You can also sail to the Makers of Boats around 16 p.m. and stroll in the shade of the trees in the early afternoon. A good alternative if the sun prevails.

Other ideas nature outings

There are other unique walks to take around the Audomarois:

  • A short hike on the 7 km Lansbergue path between Tilques and Serques (¼ hour by car from the Makers of Boats.
  • A walk in the forest of Eperlecques, located between Flanders and Artois, also ¼ hour from the Makers of Boats.
  • An escapade in the nature reserve of the Aa valley. An outing between greenery, limestone lawns and sheep in the heart of a unique environment (be careful, it's a bit steep!)
  • A digestive walk in the public garden of Saint-Omer… One of the most beautiful in the region!

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