Quatre Bras

18th Century Map of Quatre Bras by Ferrais
Quatre Bras - Ferraris (18th century)

Our suggested route around Quatre Bras
Our Route

A couple of things to mention before we start describing the route. First of all, in hindsight, we would probably have used the car more than we did to move between sites and we suggest you consider doing so. Some of the walking had the benefit of allowing us to experience the vistas and the fatigue of the actual troops but I am not sure that is entirely worth the effort. We will provide the walking times we experienced and leave it to you to decide on your mode of transport.

Secondly, and more importantly, we were visiting on a very quiet Monday in October and we had the privilege of meeting and talking to three owners of key battlefield farms. They all gave us far greater access to their properties than we had any right to expect; please do not assume you will be provided with the same and remember that the farms are these people’s homes.

Quatre Bras battlefield from La Armee du Nord games
Quatre Bras - From the game L'Armee du Nord
Artist: Rick Barber
© 1993, Clash of Arms Games a division of
Theatre Of the Mind Enterprises, Inc.
Quatre Bras - Pratzen
Quatre Bras - From the game Le Retour de l'Empereur
Artist: Didier Rouy
© Pratzen Editions

Grand Piermont Farm appears in Incredible Courage by Grognard Simulations
Grand Pierpont Farm from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
Artist: Rick Barber
© Grognard Simulations Inc.

Entering Frasnes from the north on the Brussel’s-Charleroi road (1), we took a right at the first roundabout and followed the signs to Grand Pierrepont Farm/Golf Club (2). Follow the metalled road as it swings to the left and park at the golf club. You can take a look at the farm and then, on foot, follow the road back to where it swung left and instead follow the dirt track a few yards to the edge of the golf course. Looking across the golf course you will see a thin line of trees. The approximately mark what was then the edge of the (now long gone) Bossu Wood. The golf course is the area occupied by the Nassau’s and the 8th National Militia. We spent around 20 minutes here.

Jump back in the car and head directly across the roundabout, taking the road to Pireaumont. The village is now subsumed into the larger village of Sart Dame Avelines. As you approach Pireaumont, you will pass Lairalle Farm (3) in a dip on your left. The first left as you enter Sart Dame Avelines is Rue Pireaumont and it takes you into the eponymous village. We parked opposite the Pireaumont Farm (4) and met the octogenarian owner, George, who took us into his home to show us an old photograph that depicted the farm before alterations. He was also kind enough to show us the courtyard and the barn.

Piraumont Farm from the boardgame Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras published by Grognard Simulations Inc.

Piraumont Farm from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
Artist: Rick Barber
© Grognard Simulations Inc.

From here we took 20 minutes to walk through the village towards the Chaussée de Bruxelles. Across from the junction with this key line of communication between Quatre Bras and Ligny is the watermill (5) on the edge of village of Thyle. The wheel has now gone but you can clearly see the narrow Thyle (stream) as it runs alongside the mill.

Thyle Watermill has lost it's wheel but is still worth a visit
The Watermill at Thyle
Thyle Watermill, a.k.a Moulin á Bouchet, on the Incredible Courage boargame map

The Watermill at Thyle from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
Atrist Rick Barber
© Grognard Simulations Inc.

We returned to the main road, turning right, and took the 15 minute walk to the wooded area towards the northwest. As you reach the copse, there is a track that takes you a short way before you reach a ‘private property’ sign. Going just a few feet further and scrambling through the overgrown verge, provides you with a view (albeit limited) of the Materne lake (6). From here we took another 15 minutes to return to the car.

Next we headed along the Chaussée to Quatre Bras. There’s a parking area immediately on your left as you reach the cross-roads (7). We parked there and got out to explore. Quatre Bras is a sorry sight. The locale itself consists of a restaurant/café, a petrol station/carwash and a derelict farm house. Sadly the latter is the historical Quatre Bras Farm. The current owner is letting it become derelict in the hope of being allowed to demolish it and build an old folks home and commercial complex. The contrast with the restoration work at Hougoumont is little short of tragic.

Les Quatre bras on the map for Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras

Quatre Bras Village from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
Atrist Rick Barber
© Grognard Simulations Inc.

The British Monument
Take 15 minutes to head across the cross-roads and a short distance down the Nivelle-Namur road are the monuments to the British and Dutch forces (8). The British monument is especially interesting as it shows the units that fought there in 1815 and their current (as of 2000 AD) equivalents. Return to the cross-roads and turn right moving south along the main highway.

View East from Brunswick Monument
View east from the Brunswick Monument

As you go you will pass the Brunswick monument and the Bergerie Farm on your left and, passing the Bati Saint Bernard (9) (worth a short detour to walk along it and survey the landscape that experienced so much of the fighting) you will reach Gemioncourt Farm (10) after around 20 minutes. There is a private property sign, which you will please respect, but we were fortunate enough to meet the owner as he left the premises and were given permission to approach (but not enter) the property.
We now returned, northwards, to the car and headed to Wavre.

Ferme au Gemioncourt on the map for Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
Gemioncourt Farm from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Quatre Bras
© Grognard Simulations Inc.
Een tour van Quatre Bras - Nederlands PDF
Een tour van Quatre Bras. With dankzij Eddy Claes

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