Part of the municipality of Theux is located in a geological window, known as the "Fenêtre de Theux".
Hundreds of millions of years ago, the site of Theux was the object of a rare geomorphological and geological phenomenon, unique in Western Europe. A tear occurred in the Ardennes soil revealing older layers. It is thanks to erosion over more than 300 million years that we can observe this rare geological phenomenon in our region today.
Site of the Rocheux
The site was exploited for several centuries for the zinc ore contained in the limestone rocks. Hundreds of thousands of tons were extracted, especially in the 19th century. The unusable material was spread over the surrounding land, forming a "calamine dump. "
The site contains many minerals: sulphur, blende, galena, marcasite, etc. After industrial activities ceased, a very special flora, consisting of species that can tolerate the presence of heavy metals, gradually colonised the site.
The Rocheux site, a nature reserve, was threatened by the dumping of rubbish. The commune of Theux, with the agreement of the Royal Commission for Monuments, Sites and Excavations, the ASBL Ardenne et Gaume and the Verviers Naturalists, had a fence placed over the embankment.
In addition to the Rocheux site, the Fenêtre de Theux includes the following three sites:
The Thier du Gibet, a nature reserve of 4 hectares, occupies a central position in the "Fenêtre de Theux" where this limestone island shelters vegetation of great interest. Since 2010, as part of the "Life Hélianthème" project, major reopening work has been carried out regularly.
The quarry and the hillside of Mont, a nature reserve, whose limestone grasslands on the high hillside of Mont (3 hectares), abandoned by agriculture and 80% overgrown, were in the process of being recolonised by the forest.
Since 2010, this site of great ecological importance has been restored by the ASBL Natagora, thanks to regular actions consisting essentially of sheep grazing, mowing and collection of tall grass by volunteers. The site has regained an interesting appearance with a variety of fauna and flora as well as rare and protected species.
In the valley of the Wayot stream, reopening work carried out by the Natagora association has enabled the seeds of the typical flora of this limestone environment: orchids, thyme, oregano or wild marjoram and basil to find their place. This biodiversity is very rare in Wallonia.
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