THE HEM’S WESTERN HILLSIDES

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The hillsides roll out beyond Saint Omer to the northwest

This region consists of small dry valleys lying above the marshes and speckled with old windmills, two of which are particularly beautiful in Moringhem and Norbécourt.

Like these lovely windmills, there are also beautiful farms and churches in white limestone, like Saint Léger, Saint Gilles in Mentques with its machicolation, and Saint Maxime in Difques with its roman tower.

The crucifix of Nort-Leulinghem dates to 1780 and is classified as a historical monument. It is one of the most remarkable crosses in the region. In addtion, there are ancient motte-and-bailey castles that were some of the first chateaus in the region, such as those in Bayenghem-les-Eperlecques and Mentques.

The clear and lively river Hem winds through this northern region. People can safely traverse the Hem at the shallow point in Zouafques where the ancient path that extended from England to Rome called la Leulène crossed. The Hem then bubbles through the charming water mill of the medieval castle in Tournehem. The river continues through the hamlet of Guémy where it appears that time itself has stood still for centuries. At the nearby hilltop, an ancient chapel situated on a naturally protected site opens up to one of the most beautiful panaromic views in northern France.

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