26 April 2018 – Cantercel

 

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With the arrival of Spring, it is time to go looking for wild flowers. This week we will visit the Cantercel area, above La Vacquerie, which is one of the best places for jonquils. Also, the asphodels are starting to flower, and there is a good chance to see wild irises and some early orchids.

This is a fairly long walk of about 8 km, rising a total of about 150 m. Most is on tracks (some 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.

Dog owners, take note: there are lots of Austrian Pines in this area and is very likely 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 from the reservoir above La Vacquerie at about 10:45. To get to this point you drive through the village (on the D9 towards Arboras) and up the hill. Immediately after the top of the hill there is a small turning sharply back on the right, with a no-through-road sign, and the parking point is 100 m up this road. If you get to the hamlet of La Trivalle (on the D9), you have missed the turning!

This is a fairly long walk, so bring a snack. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 8 km, 150 m rise
Bring: Snack, dog lead

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29 March 2018 – Notre Dame des Clans at Salagou

This is a circular walk at Lake Salagou around the hamlet of Les Vailhes, starting along the lakeside then climbing to the chapel and returning by the upper road.

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A normal spring day is forecast for next Thursday, sun, cloud and some wind, and little risk of rain. We propose a moderate walk of about 5 km at the edge of Lake Salagou. The first half is along the lakeside, up and down along a marked track through the ruffe. After about 2 km it reaches the chapel of Notre Dame des Clans, set back on the hillside. From here we climb up to the road (quite steep, but not long) and then return by the road at the higher level. We last did this walk about 3 years ago.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50 for departure at 10:00. The walk will start from the main car park beside the lake at Vailhes at about 10:20. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Ben
Distance: ~ 5 km, climb 50 m.

8 February 2018 – La Sure at Salagou

This is a circular walk around La Sure, one of the hills that protrude into the southern side of lake Salagou.

2018-02-08 La Sure.JPGNext Thursday is forecast to be very cold, but mostly sunny with moderate wind.

We propose a walk of about 7 km around La Sure, which is a hill on the south-western side of lake Salagou. The walk is mostly on a footpath near to the lake edge, but this goes up and down frequently as it winds past the various ravines on the hillside. The path is occasionally tricky, and may be muddy after recent rain, or icy after overnight frost. The second part of the walk is easy, and passes the western end of the lake, where there are often water birds to be seen.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the car park at Les Plots (after Liausson if coming from Clermont), at about 10:30. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Organiser: Andrew
Distance: ~7km, up and down, tricky in places
Bring: Warm clothes, good shoes, binoculars

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.

5 October 2017 – La Couvertoirade

Circular walk looking for mushrooms

After what passes for rain, and a few warm days, there is a reasonable chance that some mushrooms will be appearing. So this is a good time to do our annual walk from La Couvertoirade. 2014-10-09-11-11-32

This is a circular walk of about 7km, on stony tracks and paths, mostly gentle, but with a total climb of about 100m.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50 ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the car park at La Couvertoirade, at about 10:30. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7km

24 August 2017 – Chapelle St. Vincent

IMG_6637To restart the regular walks after all our summer diversions, I suggest an easy walk on the plateau. The forecast for Thursday is for a continuation of the current weather, quite windy, not too hot, and with some occasional cloud. The walk is gently uphill, on good paths, rising eventually to the ruins of Chapelle St. Vincent, on the top of a small hill from which there are good views across the plateau and the Herault valley. We then return by the same path.

The walk starts at Camp Rouch and is about 4 km long. Various extensions are possible if people want to walk for longer. The high point of the walk is about 100 m higher than the start, but there are no steep climbs.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 8:50, ready to leave at 9:00. The walk should start from Camp Rouch (which is at the end of the D155E2, accessed from Le Caylar or St Felix de l’Heras) at about 9:40.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 4 km or more