10 May 2018 – Mont Liausson

This week we propose the long-threatened ascent of Mont Liausson, to the south of Lake Salagou. The walk includes a steep and strenuous ascent (and descent) of about 300 m on well-worn, stony tracks, so it is important to come with good footwear and stamina!

The climb up Mont Liausson is a well-loved walk in the area. It is measured at 7 km, but feels significantly longer, involving nearly 400 m of climbing and taking at least 3 hours before breaks. The forecast is for sunny periods but strong winds, with the air temperature reaching about 20°. It will be particularly gusty at the summit.

Starting from the village of Liausson, we walk through vineyards for about 1 km, before starting 3 km of climbing, all the way to the ridge at the top of the mountain. From here there are magnificent views, to the north across Lake Salagou, and to the south across the Cirque de Mourèze towards the Pic de Vissou and Cabrières. Near the top we will pass by the the ruins of l’hermitage de St-Jean-d’Aureillan, just before the eastern end of the ridge. From here we descend by a similar path, passing the Grotte de Liausson.

For those interested in birdlife we might see or hear some interesting birds, notably the Dartford warbler (la Fauvette pitchou) or the blue rock thrush (la Monticole bleu).

As usual the we will meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk itself will start at about 10:30 from the car park opposite the mairie in Liausson. We should be back in Lodeve by about 15:00.

Leader: Ben
Distance: ~7 km, ~400 m climb
Bring: Snack, water, good shoes, binoculars, stamina

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18 January 2018 – Les Fenestrettes

Les Fenestrettes is a marked walk from St Guilhem le Desert, a hard walk of about 11 km with a steep climb of over 450 m.

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The weather this week is ideal for walking (cold but sunny, with no rain and not much wind), so we will undertake the hard walk designated ‘Les Fenestrettes’, starting at St. Guilhem. Although not so long (about 11 km) this is a hard walk, with the first third all uphill on steep paths, eventually rising about 450 m, to the top of the steep cliffs to the south of the village. There are excellent views at various points on this climb, back down into the village and its valley, across the Herault Gorge, and eventually across to Mt St Baudile and even south to the sea. From the highest point we start a long but gentle descent which eventually emerges from between the cliffs at the far (western) end of the valley behind the village. The paths (and sometimes tracks) are all in good condition, though some may be wet after the recent rain.

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Les Fenestrettes

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk itself will start at about 10:50 from the main parking area (payant) at the top of the village. The walk takes about 4 hours, and we will stop for a snack at the top of the climb. We should be back in Lodeve by 16:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 11 km, 450+ m of climb
Bring: Snack, good shoes, fortitude.

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.

13 July 2017 – Les Balcons de Lauroux

This is an excellent but hard, all-day walk starting at Lauroux and extending up into the Escandorgue forest. It is officially described as ‘difficile’, 16 km and taking 5 hours.

This walk is in three sections. Firstly, we walk up the valley from Lauroux, passing the Grotte de Labeil, and continuing up the escarpment to the Escandorgue forest, a rise of about 550 m. Parts of this ascent are difficult and a bit scrambly, with some intermediate descents to get past side valleys. Then we walk through the forest in the direction of the Col de Pertus, before starting the descent back to Lauroux. Some of this descent is on good tracks, but other parts are rather steep and stony, and much is rather exposed.

The forecast for Thursday is for full sun, continuing the temperatures of recent days. The walk has some shaded sections, but has other sections in full sun, particularly on the descent.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 8:50 for departure at 9:00. At Lauroux we will park in the designated Walkers Car Park (just before the village), but the walk itself will start from the main bridge in the village, just after the church, at about 9:30. With a stop for lunch we should be back in Lodeve by 16:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 16 km, difficult, climb ~ 800 m
Bring: Picnic, copious fluids, sun protection, strong shoes

 

 

8 June 2017 – all-day walk from Pegairolles

2015-03-27 14-12-58This walk is the recently opened circuit of the Escalette from Pegairolles. It incorporates parts of two other walks that we have done in the area. It is a hard walk – about 16 km (5+ hours), rising about 600 m, and with some short scrambly sections.

Starting from Pegairolles we walk up the Lergue valley to Le Bronc, a walk that we have done several times in the past. From here we climb up to the old mule track leading to the Escalette – this is the part of the walk that has recently been reopened and marked. 2015-03-27 14-01-15Then we cross the motorway and take a new path to the top of the cliffs above the tunnel, leading down towards Camp Rouch. Here we join a path that we took for an all-day walk a couple of years ago, including precipitous views down to the motorway from the top of the cliffs. A few bits of this section involve some difficult descents. The last couple of km pass through woods before descending back to Pegairolles.

The forecast for Thursday is for full sun and 26C after a cool start – the beginning of a period of hotter weather. Parts of the walk are shaded, but at least half is in full sun, so come prepared.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 8:50, ready to depart at 9:00. The walk itself will start at 9:30 from the parking area above Pegairolles on the road into the village from the motorway (junction 51). We should be back in Lodeve by 16:30.

Leader: Andrew
Bring: Picnic, water, good shoes, sun protection, stamina
Distance: ~16 km, ~600 m climbing, 5+ hours walking
Difficulty: Some difficult sections.

16 March 2017 – Les Mines de Cabrières

A longer walk than usual, over the hills between Cabrières and Péret, passing old Barite mines (Barium Sulphate), including a prehistoric one, several Capitelles, and some interesting water management works.

There will also be a short, alternative walk around Grezac.

This is a circular walk from Cabrières, starting from outside the marie, as we did last week. However, the walk is significantly harder and longer. It rises some 300 m, mostly on tracks that are sometimes steep and stony. The overall distance is more than 10 km, and there will be more than 3 hours walking.

The walk leaves Cabrières by the old route de Peret, then climbs up by paths and tracks, passing several Capitelles and mines (Barytine, or Barite). There are historical mines here, but also evidence of recent open-cast working. From the top we descent towards Peret, but then return by the valley of the Ruisseau du Braun, where there are excavations of a prehistoric mine. Towards the end of the walk we pass an area where a spring is actively managed to create an irrigation system for the hillside fields. Throughout the walk there are excellent views, to Pic de Vissou, the Pyrenees, and Pic St Loup.

As this is a long walk, we will have a proper break in the middle, so bring a substantial snack.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00, and the walk should start from Cabrières at about 10:40. We should return to Lodeve about 15:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: > 10 km
Ascent: 300+ m
Surface: Rough and stony

Alternative: For those who do not want to undertake a hard walk there will be an alternative local walk starting at the same time from the Cinema, walking in the area of Grezac.

 

17 November 2016 -Herault Gorge to l’Estagnol

A short but steep walk to the North of St Guilhem

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Combe Bugadiere

This is a short (6.5km) but strenuous walk with climbs totalling about 300m, mostly on footpaths that are by turns steep, narrow, stony and precipitous, sometimes all at the same time. It starts beside the Herault river, and climbs via the Combe de Legeaux towards the hamlet of l’Estagnol, then returns by the Combe Bugadière to the start.

The weather this Thursday is expected to be clear (~15°) and not particularly windy, so should not present any problems, but in places the path is over loose stones, so adequate footwear is important.

The walk starts at a car park on the D4, about 1.5km beyond St Guilhem – you will see a dam across the river, and the (large) parking area is about 200m further on, round the bend in the road, on the right, between the road and the river.

As usual we will meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. We should start the walk at about 10:50, and be back in Lodève soon after 13:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 6.5km
Climb: 300m
Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moyen +