Park Abbey near Leuven on Regional GR Hageland
Regional GR Hageland is still a work in progress for us. The trail has existed for quite a few years, but for a long time it didn't appeal to us. The reason: most of the trail consisted of parts of existing GR trails we had already hiked. We crossed the Hageland with GR 5 (North Sea - Mediterranean Sea), GR 512 (Brabant Hills Trail), GR 561 (Kempen - Meuse trail), GR 128 (Flanders trail) and Regional GR Dijleland.
But over the last few years all those trails have undergone quite some adaptations, with the nice result that Regional GR Hageland has largely extricated itself from those trails, and has now clearly taken on a life of its own. Add to that the fact that in 2023 Regional GR Hageland was declared "the hiking product of the year" by the province of Flemish Brabant. In the end, all that made us change our minds, and we started hiking the trail.
The topoguide (latest version Jan. 2021) has divided the route into 9 stages that are easily organized by public transportation. That alone deserves a big award ! Except for the last two stages, they all stay (sometimes quite a bit) under 20 km. Moreover, the height differences are limited, so any average hiker should be able to handle the Regional GR Hageland without a problem.
We already experienced several times that the region we'll be crossing has a lot to offer, on a cultural, historical and landscape level. Although this GR trail is situated in the center of the country, it will never get too busy. The trail designers succeed quite well in keeping it quiet and as natural as possible.
So fingers crossed that all will be OK. With our motto "beauty is everywhere, you just have to want to see it" that will probably work, right?
The topoguide covers the entire route in 9 stages. Each of them can be organized by train or bus. The proposed connections are quite frequent.
Those who still want to organize these stages with a car at both start and finish should be deeply ashamed.