Along the Hoëgne, at Parfondbois, a former peat bog existed of about 8 hectares. However, it is largely overgrown with woody vegetation now. Peat developed and accumulated in depressions in the landscape with poor drainage after the last ice age. Peat extracted from this bog, was destined to heat the thermal baths of Spa. These baths have therapeutic qualities and have been available to guests since 1889. The peat had a very low acidity level and very special properties. Peat harvesting started in 1935 and came to an end in 1994 when all usable peat was extracted. Peat was transported by rail along the Hoëgne and then loaded on trucks. Sections of the former railway still exist.
This bog, owned by the Walloon region was not actively managed until recently. Now, it is managed by the cultural center of Sart as a small nature reserve. Under the right condtions a bog can develop in a depresssion in the landscape where water can collect. When vegetation growing in these depressions dies and if oxygen is lacking for decomposition of these materials, decaying plant materials accumulate and peat may develop under the right conditions. If the area remains water-logged, peat may form that can be several meters thick. Once these areas are drained and the plant matrials allowed to dry out, the accumulated material will rapidly decompose, and nutrients are relaeased. This facilitates quick colonization by grasses and eventually establishment of woody plants. To manage bogs the hydrology has to be stabilized to wet, create anaerobic conditions for dead plant material once again can accumulate. Beavers have been reintroduced to help create wet conditions at these bogs.
The old peat bog
Unnamed Road, 4845 Jalhay, Belgique