12 October 2017 – Pont du Diable

This week we propose a choice of two walks, both starting from the Pont du Diable at St Jean de Fos. There will be a flat walk of about 7 km to the St Sylvestre church and back, and a much harder circular walk of about 16 km up on the plateau to the east of the Herault river. Both walks will start and end at the Pont du Diable car park. The weather is expected to be sunny, starting cool but warming up towards midday.

The first walk follows a way-marked route along a good farm track along the foot of the escarpment and beside fields and vineyards, to the small St Sylvestre church, set in trees and looking down towards Aniane. This is a good spot to have a rest and a snack. We then return by the same route. This walk should take about 2 hours,

The other walk is a hard circuit of about 16 km. It starts with one of the most difficult sections we have ever walked, a climb straight up the side of the escarpment, rising 250 m in less than 1 km. There is a proper path, but it involves clambering in places, and is rather exposed, with excellent views down steep drops to the river valley below – not for the feint-hearted! The main part of the walk on the plateau is generally easier, but there are several extended sections where we walk over loose stony scree, which can be difficult on the ankles. From the plateau there are excellent views, including a proper lookout point across the river to St Guilhem. We pass the Montcalmes hamlet before continuing on to the St Sylvestre church. The walk will take about 5 hours, including a stop for a picnic.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walks will start from outside the visitor centre at the Pont du Diable car park, at about 10:45. Those on the flat walk should be back in Lodeve by 13:30, on the hard walk not until 16:30.

Flat walk
Leader: Jenny
Distance: 7 km, rising 50 m
Bring: snack.

Hard Walk
Leader: Andrew
Distance: 16 km, climb 300 m
Bring: Sun protection, good shoes, water, picnic.


29 June 2017 – Vieux Chemin de Poujols

This week we will walk along Vieux Chemin de Poujols to Domaine Chateau Mallet and return along the same route. The walk is mostly in the shade with short sections in full sun.  Apart from two short rises (and descents) the route is completely flat.

Any overnight rain should have cleared by the morning, and it is expected to be sunny and breezy, but not too hot.

As usual we shall meet at 8:50 at the Luteva Cinema, and will depart on foot from there at 9:00. If it suits, you can join the walk at the corner of Vieux Chemin de Poujols and Avenue de L’Escandorgue at 9:15. We should be back at the cinema by 11:00.

Leader: Ray
Distance: ~ 6 km.

25 May 2017 – to Canals on the Guilhaumard

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.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~6 km
Bring: Sun protection, Orchid books

27 April 2017 – Wild flowers on the Guilhaumard

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.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7 km

16 February 2017 – Pas de l’Escalette

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.


12 January 2017 -Storks at Lattes

A visit to the bird sanctuary by the Etang du Méjean at Lattes.

2012-05-10 12-50-12 cWe visit the birds at Lattes quite regularly, and this is a chance to see the winter residents and visitors. There will certainly be Storks and Herons, and we should see both Little and Great Egrets, as well as various ducks and geese, and probably Flamingos.

The walk within the reserve is completely flat, and we will cover 5 to 7 km. Bring binoculars (and telescopes?) as there are several good vantage points for observation. These do have bird identification panels, but you might want to bring a bird book as well. The forecast is for moderate temperatures and some sun, but with wind increasing in the afternoon.

Please note that dogs are NOT permitted within the reserve, so this has to be a dog-free walk.

As usual we will meet at 9:50 outside the Luteva Cinema, for departure at 10:00. At Lattes follow the signs to the Maison de la Nature, and park at the designated spot, which is about 600m before the reserve itself. We should start from the car park at about 11:00. As this is a long day, please bring a substantial snack. We should be back in Lodeve by 16:00.

Organiser: Andrew
Distance: <7km, flat
Bring: Binoculars, etc, snack. No Dogs!

Update: As well as the expected birds we saw a large (~200 birds) flock of Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and Lapwings, and a single Green Sandpiper. Ducks included Shoveler, Teal and Garganey, and we had sightings of the usual Marsh Harrier patrolling the area.