2 July 2015 – St Pons de Mauchiens

St Pons des MauchiensThere were sixteen of us on this walk, and luckily it was a nice breezy day and not as hot as we had expected. We started from the car park next to “Le Mairie”, walked around the old part of the village, and then up to the church at the top, where there were magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.2015-07-02 10-37-58 s
Apart from being a very beautiful circular medieval village, St Pons de Mauchiens is also famous for a very rare falcon that nests in the old house roofs. 2015-07-02 10-30-05 cThis is the Lesser Kestrel, (in French, the Crecerellette), and there are now over a hundred pairs nesting there thanks to the LPO and the goodwill of the village people. This bird was extinct in the Hérault until about fifteen years ago.
From the top of the village we observed lesser kestrels flying around, to and from their nests under the roof tiles of the surrounding old houses. 2015-07-02 11-54-55 cWe must have observed several dozen birds, which is quite something when you consider that there is no other place in the whole of the Herault where you would be able to see this bird at all!
After a short walk in the surrounding Cicadacountryside, observing estevating snails and shrieking cicadas, we all ended up in the local bar (built into the ramparts) for a much appreciated drink.

Leader: Ben

Photos: Andrew

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18 June 2015 – Ruisseau de Fozieres

path

The walk started close to Lodeve, from the area under the motorway just beyond Takavenir

We followed the river valley up to Fozieres, following a rocky ascent on the more open side past several old mine workings, then descended by the old footpath, which is more wooded.

rocks
view

Ben explained about the different rock periods.

Ben

Distance: 5 km
Ascent: about 150 metres
Leader: Andrew

Thanks to Marlene for the photos

4 June 2015 – From Soumont to St Michel de Grandmont

Signpost

A record 22 people came on this walk; some old friends, some new, some people who are only here part of the time. We appreciated the shady parts of the walk as the sun was hot. We started off from a spectacular viewpoint above Soumont, with views over Lac du Salagou.

looking at viewView from table d'orientation

We made our way along a shady path,
path
then along a section on the road with views towards the sea, and down to the Abbé of St Michel de Grandmont, passing by the side of their deer park. We didn’t have time to visit but those who wanted to can return at a later date.

St Michel de Grandmont

Before rejoining our original path, we walked along a ridge which is used for climbing and bouldering.

bouldering

We thought the stone spiral was fairly recent!
spiral

At the end it was time to admire the view once more.

Soumont
We just made it back to Lodève for our promised 1.30 return time.

This would be an interesting walk to do at a different time of year. It is part of a longer 12 km walk, details of which can be found at
http://fr.calameo.com/read/0019402331e0ca1261c40
Distance: 6 km
Leader: Celia

11 June 2015 – Escandorgue from Labeil

rock

A circular walk starting at the Grotte de Labeil, on the road up to the plateau beyond Lauroux – a walk that we did in March 2014. A lot of the walk was on open tracks through the Escandorgue beech (hêtre) forest, but some was along narrow but well-maintained paths through the woods and under the escarpment cliffs, and the first part of this was steep and rocky, though always secure underfoot.
En route: views over the plain towards the sea, and some interesting rock collections/formations (dinosaur feet?)
dinosaur feet

What is this?

Distance: 5 km
Waymarked (but there are lots of waymarked walks in this area)
Leader: Andrew
Thanks to Marlene for the photos

28 May 2015 – Walk around Cantercel

Boat

Several questions on this walk. How did the boat get to the top of the hill? What happened to Hugo, the new dog? (We found him back at the cars at the start of the walk).

2015-05-25 13-13-58wild flowers2015-05-25 13-15-30

This walk was a variant of one that we had done before, around the Cantercel area of the plateau above La Vacquerie. We didn’t go around the experimental archaeological site at Cantercel as we had been that way before and were more interested in wild flowers.

viewview2

Distance: 6 km, gently uphill for most of the first half, climbing about 150m.

Leader: Andrew

Photos: Marlene, Andrew