2 May 2019 – Cantercel


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The recent cooler weather has extended the spring flowers this year, so there are still jonquils around as well as the slightly later flowers. This week we will visit the Cantercel area, above La Vacquerie, which is one of the best places for wild irises. There are still lots of jonquils (though not quite as dense as last year), the asphodels are starting to flower, and there is a good chance to see some early orchids.

This is a moderate walk of about 7 km, rising a total of about 150 m, mostly in the first kilometer. Most is on tracks (sometimes loose and stony) or on footpaths. The higher levels give excellent views across to Mont St Baudile to the south and Navacelles to the north.

The forecast is that it will be mostly sunny, so warm, but probably a bit windy.
Dog owners, take note: there are some Austrian Pines in this area so it is possible that there will be processionnaire caterpillars on the move.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. The walk itself will start at about 10:30 from the walkers’ car park at Saint Pierre de la Fage. To get to this point you drive through St Pierre towards Navacelles, and just after the last house there is a small turning on the right with a sign-post to the car park – which is actually about 1 km along this road. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7 km, 150 m rise
Bring: Good shoes, dog lead


18 April 2019 – Wild flowers on the Guilhaumard

This walk is on the southern edge of the Guilhaumard plateau, where there is a good range of wild flowers. With luck we will see Tulips, Fritillaires, Pasque flowers, Asphodels, perhaps La Dame a Onze Heures, some late Daffodils, and some early Orchids. It is quite long, often on stony paths, but with no real climbs.

2004_0515BCThis is a walk of about 9 km, generally flat or rolling, though with one short climb in the middle. It is mostly on tracks and footpaths, sometimes stony. This is a new, longer, version of the walk that we do most years at this time, and there is a good chance of seeing a variety of spring wild flowers.

The forecast is for a cloudy day with quite strong winds from the south, and maximum temperature of about 15 degrees!

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. The walk itself will start at about 10:40, at the Col de Licous on the D493 (from La Bastide to Le Clapier). We should be back in Lodeve by 15:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 9 km, climb 50 m
Bring: Wind protection, snack.

11 April 2019 – Le Barry

This week Ben will lead a circular walk from Le Barry, near Montpeyroux. There is the possibility of taking lunch in Montpeyroux after the walk.

This is a marked circular walk of just over 7 km, in the hilly area around Le Barry. It passes the old castle – Le Castelas – and includes climbs of nearly 300 m. It is not the easiest of walks but should be possible for everyone.

The town of Montpeyroux hosts the Terrasse du Mimosa restaurant, and some of the walkers intend to take lunch there after the walk. If you wish to join them you MUST book in advance at the restaurant, on 0467444980 – say that you will be part of the group organised by Ben Truscott. The lunch menu costs about €20 for two courses.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema in Lodeve, but at the earlier time of 9:20, in order to leave at 9:30. The walk will start from the parking area at the entrance to Le Barry at 10:00.

Leader: Ben
Distance: 7.6 km, climb ~ 300 m

21 March 2019 – Lac du Salagou from Les Vailhes

This is an easy walk of about 7 km on the tracks that overlook Salagou.

We start this walk above the hamlet of Vailhes and proceed towards the dammed end of the lake. Before we get to the dam we turn back on a higher track for the return to the starting point.

The weather is expected to be mild, not too windy and mostly sunny.

As usual, we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the track above Vailhes (NOT from the lakeside car park) at about 10:20. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~7 km, climb 50 m.

21 February 2019 – Cirque du Bout du Monde

This is a marked petite randonnée of about 9 km starting at the village of Gourgas and climbing more than 500 m. It is officially classed as Moyen Difficulté. For those who do not want to undertake such a significant climb a much shorter, flatter walk will also be possible, from the same starting point.

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This is a well-known circular walk, starting in the village of Gourgas. We have talked about doing this walk, but have never done it – it is well-marked, and a brochure is available from the tourist office.

The walk sets off west from the village, climbing continuously until it joins the GR route from Soubes, about half way up to the plateau. Some of this ascent is steep and stony – this is the most taxing part of the walk. From here we turn back towards the north-east, and then follow a long path at the same general level all the way round the bowl of hills behind the village. The path goes up and down a lot but stays half way up the hillside, below the cliffs. Finally there is a long descent back to the village, on wide forest tracks. The overall walk is about 9 km, and will take at least 3 hours.

The forecast for this week is good – sunny, not too hot and not too windy.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the signposted parking area in Gourgas, at about 10:20. We should be back in Lodeve by 15:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 9 km, climb >500 m, sometimes steep
Bring: Good shoes, snack.

In addition: For those who do not want to undertake an arduous walk, there will also be a much easier walk starting from the same spot. This is a circular walk to St Etienne and back, about 5 km and climbing only 50 m, all on quiet roads. This group should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Martin
Distance: 5 km, climb 50 m

17 January 2019 – Fontès to Ceressou

This is an excellent marked circular walk (facile) of about 6.5 km, from the village of Fontès to the top of the nearby hill of Ceressou, from which there are excellent views.

The walk starts by exploring the village, which is built over the remains of a castle, and includes ramparts and old gates. From the village we set off across the fields, cross the Boyne river (stepping stones and branches, can be tricky after rain), and then ascend the south flank of the Ceressou hill (described as an ancient volcano but more likely a lava flow). The climb is about 180 m and is fairly steep (a monté, not a chemin), demanding but not too difficult. The top of the hill is flat, and from different points there are views south towards the sea, and west towards Fontès. We descend from the hill on the north-west side (not so steep but more loose stones), and then take a different route across the fields back to the village, returning via the church.

The forecast is that it will be mostly cloudy, but rain is unlikely, and it will be a bit warmer and less windy than recent days.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the Cave (Fontesole) in Fontès, at about 10:45. The best route is to take the motorway to the Adissan turning, drive through the village and then follow the signs to Fontès. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 6.5 km, 200 m climb

A walk from St. Jean de la Blaquiere to Les Salces

I tried to lead this walk in 2015 only to find that the river was blocked just South of Les Salces so we had to turn back.  So fingers crossed for this time.  We shall start out from the main square in St. Jean and follow the Ruisseau de Ste. Marguerite to Les Salces and return via the Bruyeres des Salces.It is an undulating walk over chemins and vineyard paths. The weather is forecast to be dry with some wind and this walk, much of which is through vines and trees is not too exposed. It is between 9 and 10 km so we should arrive back in St. Jean by 1.30 and at Luteva by 2.00. (If necessary it can be shortened.)

The meeting place will be at Luteva at 9:50 for a 10.00 start. For those meeting in the main square in St. Jean, the walk will start at 10.30.