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Grotte Sainte-Anne - Tilff (No. 23)


Province: Liège
Locality: Tilff
Coordinates: 235.87/139.12/85
Map: 42/5-6
The cave is situated along the road Esneux-Tilff, right bank of the river "Ourthe", 1 kilometre before entering the village of Tilff.  Big entrance, about 20 m above the road, at the foot of a very steep limestone wall (used for abseiling).


This cave has been known for a long time: it was discovered during quarry-works in 1837.  Since it was an easy and well decorated cave, it was used as a showcave for some time.  In the 60ties the "Réseau Lemaire" was discovered; an upper level featuring nice calcite pools and a lake.


ACCESS:R?eau Lemaire
 This cave is closed with an UBS-gate, so you need an UBS-key to enter it.


Length: +/- 1542 m,  Depth: -35 m
Spacious and easy cave. 4 different levels, the two lower ones are active and some of the finest stream passages in Belgium can be seen here. This river collects all (polluted) water from the "Chawresse-valley". The upper levels are fossil and were once very decorated with helectites.  Unfortunately, not a lot of them are left anymore. There are still many massif formations to be seen, but everything is blackened because of the extensive use of carbid lamps...

So, after entering the cave, you'll progress for several hundreds of meters in big passages (dimensions are never less than 5 by 5 m).  In Salle de la Cascade, you reach the river. Continue in the river until you can climb up to the upper fossil levels (it is recommend to visit these first... they are dry). Ten meters before the end of the upper level, you can chimney up through a vertical, constricted and wet slot!  This is the way to the "Réseau Lemaire". The small deep blue lake is beautiful and the big active "gour" pools are still worth seeing.

On the way back, you can (optionally) descend a 10 m pitch. At the bottom you'll land in the river. You can follow the river upstream for quite a distance; it ends with a sump. Some low/wet passages make it a fun trip. Return to Salle de la Cascade following the river downstream again. After Salle de la Cascade, back in the fossil level again, several holes in the floor offer another access to the active level. But here the river flows in a narrow rift and there are several "ducks" to be passed.

Probably the most visited cave in the country, and essentially used for guiding youngsters around.

RIGGING:In the St-Anne river
No ropes are needed, unless you want to go down the 10 m pitch that connects the upper level with the river. Take a 20 m rope so you can pull it through. A steel chain is present.

Better avoid this over-popular cave during the weekends!


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