A UNESCO Global Geopark is a single, unified geographical area which boasts geological heritage sites and landscapes of international geological significance. A UNESCO Global Geopark strives for the sustainable development of an area, and tries to raise local awareness of its distinctive natural and cultural heritage, enabling locals to feel a sense of pride and strengthen their identification with their area.
The Famenne-Ardenne Geopark, with a surface area of 911 km² and a population of 67 228, associates the councils of Beauraing, Dubruy, Hotton, Marche-en-Famenne, Nassogne, Rochefort, Tellin and Wellin. Our Geopark is mainly located in the "Calestienne" area, a typical strip of limestone, which is the unifying thread of our Geopark, which also comprises three distinct River basins : the Lesse, the Lomme and the Ourthe. The area offers a unique geological potential, and boasts the largest number of karstic phenomena in Belgium as well as Europe. These phenomena are of great interest and are highlighted in different fields : heritage protection, tourism and scientific research. During the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic era, the limestone rocks will be deeply altered by the warm and humid climate. Later, the Ardennes bedrock was uplifted, causing the rivers to cut deeper into their channels. Caves were formed, favouring the formation of undergound meander cut-offs as well as "swallow-hole/resurgence" systems. Some of these rivers follow an undergound course that can exceed 5 km. Caves and cliffs, unique undergound rivers, sites of great scientific interest, rocks and sediments bearing the traces of distinctive paleoclimates and paleoenvironments, landscapes, a high level of biodiversity and our built heritage are the direct result of both our environment and distinctive soil type.