In the Côte d’Opale’s hinterland there is a secret country, bucolic and simple, which only reveals its beauty to those who know how to take their time. A land of rivers, hedgerows and forests. A land of mills, châteaux, whitewashed houses and farms covered in hydrangeas. A land of history, rich heritage and gourmet delights. A land as blue as flax, as yellow as rapeseed and as green as the countryside itself, where the scenery is sublime in every season. Welcome to the 7 Valleys and Ternois!
7 Valleys and Ternois: how many rivers?
In a hurry to reach the sea, the river Canche takes with it the waters of all its tributaries; the Ternoise and the Planquette, with its operatic name, the Créquoise, peaceful and mysterious, and the Bras de Brosne with its slight aroma of cut wood. But there is also the river Lys, still wild here, and the Traxenne. And of course the Authie, which marks the border between Pas-de-Calais and Somme. In Maintenay, the wooden wheel of the 12th Century water mill caresses the river, just opposite Valloires with its graceful abbey. Everywhere water gushes, cascades, meanders or winds, and each riverbed conceals its own secrets…
Woodland, forests and woodworking
In this country where the colours blaze in autumn, the national forest of Hesdin sees its beeches, hornbeams, maples and oaks reach for the sky. Woodworking is a tradition here, particularly in the Bras de Brosne valley. Woodworkers, turners, sawmills, manufacturers of furniture, games or toys; there are countless workshops in the 7 Valleys and Ternois, perfuming the air with the sweet smell of sawdust…
Those who prefer their trees to be standing will enjoy the hiking and riding trails in Hesdin Forest. Or try a spot of forest bathing to reconnect with yourself and get back to your roots…
7 Valleys and Ternois is one great open history book
In this land of history, known in particular for the battle of Agincourt, many buildings tell of the rich and eventful past of the 7 Valleys and Ternois. The keep at Bours, the ruins of the medieval château of the Lords of Créquy at Fressin, the old command post at Wamin, the many châteaux and manor houses, the belfry at Hesdin and the town hall, with its statues of Philip IV of Spain and Isabella of Bourbon… the area reads like one great history book.
Or perhaps like a libertine novel; the scandalous Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost, a child of Hesdin, whose statue is enthroned on the banks of the Canche, a stone’s throw from his birthplace.
As for the village of Fressin, it treasures the memory of Georges Bernanos, who spent his youth in the village where he brought to life most of the characters in his novels.
Beauty blended with simplicity
The area has a host of small châteaux, farms flanked by dovecotes and slightly ostentatious manor houses. But the 7 Valleys and Ternois is above all modest chapels scattered across the countryside, small traditional cafés, flower-filled streets and authentic cob farmhouses with their characteristic black tar aprons. Oh, the cobs, giving warmth in winter and coolness in summer, as well as enhancing the unpretentious beauty of Royon, Lebiez or Embry! Among the towns with a particularly interesting architectural and natural heritage, ten have been awarded the Village Patrimoine® label.
Fresh air, freedom and fun activities in the Pays des 7 Valleys Ternois
Following the course of one of the rivers, through picturesque villages or along an old restored railway line, there are a thousand ways to enjoy the 7 Valleys and Ternois countryside in full adventure mode. By bike or on horseback, you can extend your tour, perhaps taking advantage of the designated equestrian routes, between Frévent and Auxi-le-Château for example.
Are water sports your thing? Head down to the Authie for a canoeing trip, to the ponds of Rollancourt to try your hand at paddling or pedal-boating, or to the Canche, which offers a whole host of activities and even wild water swimming!
And if you prefer more meditative strolls, go to one of the remarkable parks and gardens, among which :
- Jardins de Séricourt
- Château Flore in Humerœuille
- Jardin des Lianes in Chériennes
- Sculptures et Jardin in Bergueneuse
- Mela Rosa nursery in Grigny
In the villages of Boubers-sur-Canche, Fressin, Croisette, and many more, you’ll find a wealth of scented surprises and glorious greenery.