Étang de Virelles

Chimay  >  Belgium

The protected forest lake Étang de Virelles is 135 hectare big and good for many birds. More than 245 bird species have been seen there.

Added* by Daniel Crabbé
Most recent update 19 June 2024


The Étang de Virelles is one of the largest wetlands in Wallonia. The lake was actually dug in the 16th century for the needs of the local metal industry. The maximum depth is approximately 2 meters. It is rich in fish and waterbirds.

The south of the pond consists of a recreational area to raise public awareness of nature conservation. The Aquascope, a nature interpretation centre, is open to the public from mid-February to mid-November (see the Aquascope Virelles website). There are also some watchtowers to have a complete overview of the pond. The south shore of the pond is really the best place for birdwatching in Virelles! In 2022, around twenty islets have been created in the pond for aquatic birds and to improve their observation. Birds can rest, feed and nest there, protected from predators.

The north, east and west are covered with reed beds, meadows and humid forests of particular interest to avifauna. These parts of the nature reserve are only accessible during guided tours (every 2nd Saturday of the month).

Birds you can see in the area are Rousserolle turdoïde, Sterne pierregarin, Cigogne blanche, Marouette ponctuée, ducks, herons, small waders... See the complete birdlist below for more species that can be seen.

Note: there is an admission fee of € 10 per person (discounts available for Natagora, Natuurpunt and WWF members ; annual subscription € 20).



Parking is possible next to the Aquascope. Click on the P in the map for directions. Admission Aquascope : € 10 per person.

Terrain and Habitat

Forest , Lake , Reedbeds , Grassland , Wetland , Mud flats , Scattered trees and bushes



Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

Spring , Autumn

Best time to visit

Spring , Summer , Autumn


Unpaved road

Difficulty walking trail


Accessible by


Birdwatching hide / platform



View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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