A relatively easy and short walk in the forest south of Ceilhes, overlooking the Lac d’Avène.
This is a walk of about 6 km, in a forest and so largely in the shade, around the Canton de Bouisse. It is all on easy tracks, but rarely completely flat, with about 100 m of climb. In many places there are good views down to the lac d’Avène and its barrage. The hot weather is expected to continue, but there should be a reasonable breeze to offset the heat.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 8:50 ready to set off at 9:00. The walk will start from a parking area at the Col de la Moutoune, on the D8 between Ceilhes and Avène, at about 9:50. The walk will take about 2 hours, so we should be back in Lodeve by 13:00. Alternatively, it should be possible to get lunch at the cafe by the little lake in Ceilhes.
Distance: 6 km
This is an easy circular walk of about 6 km, on the Guilhaumard plateau between La Pezade and Canals. We have done this walk regularly in previous years. There is a good chance of seeing some of the later flowering orchids at both the beginning and the end of this walk.
The first part of this walk is along the GR from La Pezade, heading for Mas Reynal. At Canals we strike off on country tracks to return to the starting point. This is one of the best areas I know for orchids, and although the weather has been rather difficult this year, there is a good chance that we will find several varieties.
The weather forecast for Thursday is for full sun and light winds from the South, so it will be hot. Come prepared, with a hat, sun cream and water!
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk should start at about 10:40 on the plateau. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:30, unless people want to spend longer looking at orchids!
For those going directly to the starting point, take the motorway to Le Caylar, and then (after negotiating your way round the diversions associated with the roadworks at the Aire) head for the D609. This is the road (alongside the motorway) signposted to La Couvertoirade, Nant and l’Hospitalet. Stay on the D609 until you get to La Pezade (don’t go toward La Couvertoirade or Nant – and beware that the road number seems to change to the D809 when you cross the department boundary). In La Pezade turn left onto the D140, towards Canals, Mas Reynal and Le Clapier. The meeting point is a bit more than 1 km along this road, at the brow of the hill, where you can park on the right.
Distance: ~6 km
Bring: Sun protection, Orchid books
This is a circular walk of about 7 km, starting in Le Puech and climbing up to the top of a nearby hill, where there is a Dolmen. We visited this spot last year, but using an adjusted route – the proper circuit has now been reopened, and we will follow that. The walk involves a substantial climb (over 200 m) and is a bit tricky underfoot in a few places.
The forecast for this Thursday is for cloud, with rain at the end of the afternoon – we should be back well before that.
As usual we will meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, leaving at 10:00. The walk itself will start from the walkers parking area in Le Puech at about 10:25. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.
Distance: ~ 7 km
Bring: Good shoes, snack
A circular walk on the Guilhaumard Plateau, near La Bastide des Fonts
It looks as though this will be a good year for wild flowers, so this week we will repeat a walk that we did at the same time last year. We should see some early orchids, pasque flowers, and fritillaires (very localised, but profuse this year).
The walk starts from a parking area near the start of the turning towards Canals, a couple of kilometers after La Bastide des Fonts. We walk for a couple of kilometers along the (very quiet) D493 to the Pas de Licous, and then follow a circuit of tracks across the plateau. The route goes up and down a bit and is sometimes stony underfoot, but is not difficult, with a total length of about 7 km.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, for departure at 10:00. The walk should start from the parking area at about 10:40. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.
Distance: 7 km
A circular walk past the Bergerie d’Autignac, at the edge of the escarpment above Soubès.
View towards Soubes
The forecast for Thursday is rather uncertain, with Meteo France expecting showers all day, and the BBC saying that overnight rain will have passed by the morning.
Jonquils at Bergerie d’Autignac
If the weather is OK we will undertake this circular walk on the edge of the plateau above Soubès. This is an area with lots of wild flowers. In a couple of weeks the asphodels and iris will appear, followed by orchids, but the daffodils (Jonquils) are already in flower. There are excellent views at various points round the walk, past Soubès to Lodève, and down to Gourgas.
The walk is about 7 km, all on good tracks, but more than half is uphill, usually quite gentle. We will stop for a snack when we get to the upper level of the walk (about two thirds of the way round).
To get to the starting point for this walk we need to drive about 3 km on a dirt road from Soubès. The road quality if generally good, but it is steep and precipitous in places, not for the faint-hearted, weak suspension or flagging engines. I suggest that all drivers meet in Lodève so that we can go in convoy to the start.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should be back in Lodève by 14:00.
Distance: ~7 km
A circular walk starting beside the Lergue at the hamlet of Laulo, and climbing up to the volcanic Auverne plateau beside Lake Salagou
This walk is about 7km, mostly on tracks and quiet roads, and it rises about 150m. We start at Laulo, a hamlet just across the Lergue from Salelles du Bosc, on the road to Mas Audran and Lacoste. The first two kilometers of the walk are all uphill, on a path through the escarpment woods that leads up to the plateau of l’Auverne. This is the flat hill that overlooks the Salagou dam from the north side. At the far side of the plateau we get views down to the lake, and then into the lower Salagou valley and across the Lergue. The track descends, above Mas Audran and then back to Laulo.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should start the walk from Laulo at about 10:25, and be back in Lodeve by 13:00.
If, as forecast, the rain has stopped by Thursday morning, we will walk around the Pas de l’Escalette area, near St Felix de l’Heras. After heavy rain, the waterfall where the Lergue comes off the plateau and into the Pegairolles valley can be dramatic and impressive, so we shall start the walk there. After that we will explore some of the paths and tracks in the area. Mostly this is on country roads but includes some tracks, which may be muddy, so come well shod. The walk will be exploratory, along the beginnings of several walks that start at St Felix, probably no more than 5km.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should start the walk at around 10:30, and be back in Lodeve by 12:30.