Once upon a time there was a Cave...
In the 1850's, the Baron Edouard de Spandl, who lived in the area and was a nature enthousiast, enjoyed exploring the Cave of Han accompanied by a group of Han-sur-Lesse villagers. He was fascinated by the mysterious and timeless beauty of the Cave and decided he wanted to share this incredible experience with the whole world! In 1856, he purchases the Cave and starts huge infrastructure works in order to make the Cave accessible to the public for tours.
The Wildlife Park: a stunning natural backdrop to the Cave
A mere hundred years later, the Cave of Han is attracting visitors from all over the world. But, the constant flow of visitors raises concerns about the massive urbanisation of the exceptional natural site surrounding the Cave. In 1970, at the instigation of the villagers, the Domain decides to preserve the Cave's unspoilt surroundings by creating the Wildlife Park, a sanctuary welcoming many European species still living in or once populating the area. The Park is a unique and protected biotope, where the animals range freely in a semi-captive environment.
For over a century, the Domain has done everything possible in order to pursue the mission that drove our founders: to share these wonders with the greatest number, while preserving the natural beauties that are our responsibility. It is this mission that motivates each and every member of our staff, each and every day of the year: the desire to pass on their passion for the Domain and nature!
The Wildlife Park stretches out over 250 hectares and is home to an exceptionally rich natural bidoversity, with several thousand vegetal and animal species, some of which are extremely rare. We have implemented a number of natural habitat restoration programs (calcareous grasslands, tree orchards...) allowing us to enrich the existing biodiversity. We also participate in a number of wildlife hosting and reproduction programs for threatened indigenous species such as the smooth snake and the yellow-bellied toad.
Our mission is so much more than simply preserving this wonderful natural site without altering its authenticity and its rich biodiversity... The Domain's vast natural surroundings and our staff's expertise are actively employed to ensure the reproduction and reintroduction of threatened species such as the European bison, Przewalski's horse, the wolverine...
Collaborating with the scientific community
Both the Cave and the Park are living science labs! We collaborate with many scientific institutions in a variety of fields. These institutions are continually contributing to and expanding our knowledge of the subterranean world, but also of the animal and vegetal world. In order to encourage the exchange of experiences, two committees have been formed: the Cave Science Committee and the Wildlife Park Science Committee.
Raising awareness and education
“Providing information and raising awareness are essential prerequisites for any change in policy and any change in behaviour”
~ Excerpt from the Walloon Region's brochure on environmental education.
By allowing our visitors to use all their senses while immersing in the authentic and unspoilt nature of our site, and by highlighting and sublimating it with educational aids, artistic and recreational activities and media, we wish to strengthen the bond between Humanity and Nature. This special bond is where the desire to protect Nature originates...
The Domain opts for local products
For the past couple of years, the Domain's food spots and special accommodation have been treating their customers to a wide array of local products. Choosing to buy local, is choosing to enjoy high-quality products while supporting local economy and preserving the environment, both core values of the Domain.
Many of our products are locally sourced: fruit juice, beer, yoghurt, biscuits, cheese, ice cream...