The “fresh” drinking water that flows from the sources streams into the ponds that were dug in the sixteenth century. Old, hollow roads cut through the south fringe of the forest plateau. The only drive that is lined with linden trees follows the course of Vaalbeek. Harcourt Castle and the Magdalen Chapel in Vaalbeek are the last witnesses of Heverlee Forest’s medieval past.
The new forest management scheme of the Agency for Nature and Forests creates open spaces in the forest so the heath can re-grow. Invasive exotic species are felled in forest reserves to make way for indigenous shadow-rich species (hazel and hornbeam). The arboretum is a living museum. It was planted in 1930 to study how exotic trees thrive in our regions.