CAVING IN BELGIUM: THE BELGIAN CAVE GUIDE
Trou d'Haquin - Maillen (No. 11)
Locality: Maillen (Assesse)
Coordinates: x=188,58 Y=117,86 Z=195m
from Namur, take direction Yvoir/Dinant. At Lustin-station, take left,
heading to Mont-sur-Meuse. Continue straight on at first crossing (instead
of turning right to Mont-sur-Meuse). About 1,3 km further the road
turns left. In this turn, take a small track at the right that leads to
a (gravel) parking area. Leave the car here!! Continue the obvious
track (between 2 fields) by foot (500 m). The cave is in a large sinkhole
at the right, after a sharp LEFT turn of the track.
The cave was first explored by T. Polet in 1888. In 1971 a big discovery
was made by the Centre Routier Speleo who found the active "Nouveau Réseau",
and nearly doubled the cave in length. In 1989, SC Avalon found about
200 m of new passage (the "Réseau X"), after having cleared a low bedding
plane at the end of the "Nouveau Réseau". Finally, in 1996, "Bibiche", a
local caver, found some 150m of additional passages near the entrance of
The entrance is closed by a steel door with an UBS-padlock.
Length: 1704m, Depth: 56 m
entrance, 1,5 m wide, absorbs a little stream that descends down a steep
passage, with big boulders and lots of breakdown.
A) Classic, fossil part
The normal way down leads, at the bottom of the boulder slope, to "Salle
du Tunnel". Just follow these big rooms and take left at the end of them
(don't follow the water!) and climb towards a big stalagmite "la Sentinelle".
(Alternative way down: halfway down the entrance boulderslope, there is
a possibility to take the "Galerie des Trompettes", that leads either up
to an upper entrance (also gated), either down towards the Salle de la Sentinelle).
Follow an obvious traverse at your right hand leading to Salle de l'Attente.
Here are several possibilities. The most direct way is a narrow, descending
rift at your left called "Boite aux Lettres". Another way is straight
on, climbing up a bit, towards the "Paradis". Both passages lead to
the "Salle de l'Espoir". Here you descend the "Colimaçon" leading
to a big room "Salle de Minuit". The end of the cave is about 50 m
B) Active part (Nouveau Réseau + Réseau X)
Follow the river in Salle du Tunnel. A series of low and/or narrow
passages leads to a very low bedding plane, about 7 m long. The river
runs through this 20 to 30 cm "high" passage, thus making it a very wet
experience! After this passage, climb up at your right (steep, muddy).
Long crawl follows, leading to a succession of small but sometimes well
decorated rooms. Another, but small river is met from time to time.
At the extreme end of this "Nouveau Réseau", a low bedding plane (10 m crawl),
dry this time, leads to the Réseau "X".
Attention: as a result of some stupid digging works by somebody I
will not name here, the low passage leading to the Nouveau Reseau is now
totally blocked by mud. So you can NO LONGER visit the Nouveau reseau...
(situation in 2002)
No ropes are required. However, a 15 m rope can be of use when taking
the "Galerie des Trompettes" because the drop down into Salle de la Sentinelle
is very steep.
This is, together with the Grotte Sainte Anne, probably the most visited
cave in Belgium. The classic part of the cave is used to guide groups
of youngsters or novices around. Despite the fact that this part of the
cave is "clinically dead", due to the thousands of visitors each year, it
is interesting because of the volume of certain rooms and the variation
The active part however (Nouveau Réseau), is hardly visited because of the
wet crawl at the beginning, and is certainly worth doing. But take
care: don't try it when the river is flooding: the crawl then becomes extremely
here to see the survey