Le Fondry Des Chiens

Useful Information

Location: Leave the Couvin-Nismes-Treignes road N99 at Nismes, follow N939 Rue Saint Joseph, turn right into Rue Orgeveau.
Open: no restrictions [2007]
Fee: free [2007]
Classification: KarstKarren, KarstDoline, mining activities
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The Fondry Des Chiens (Pits of the Dogs) is a pretty strange geologic site with close connections to karst development. Deep pits were formed by the solution of the limestone, the may be called karren or lapies. Those pits once contained a filling of iron ore, especially limonite, which is a residual ore, the remains of the solution process itself. The ore was mined in ancient times, and as a result the pits are now empty.

It is possible to vist the pits freely, there are trails to the bottom. Please be careful when doing so, as the area is protected as a Natural Reserve. The flora of the ground is a typical for neglected grassland, caused by the thin layer of top soil which is creating long dry and hot phases. This extreme climate results in the elimination of "normal" plants but alllows extremophiles a good chance to survive.

Pits like this are found regularly in karst areas, but this are the only ones in Belgium which reach such an enourmosu depth of up to 30 m.