23 May 2019 – Orchids on the Guilhaumard

Spider OrchidThis week we will do our annual orchid outing, to the Guilhaumard plateau near La Pezade. As last year, the long cool spring has encouraged the growth of flowers, so there should be lots of orchids to spot and identify, as well as other wild flowers. The overall amount of walking will be quite limited, only a few kilometers, more of a wander than a walk.

The current weather forecast is that it will be mostly sunny and reasonably warm with light winds.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, for departure at 10:00. The walk will start at about 10:40 from the point on the D140, about 1 km beyond la Pezade, where the GR crosses the road. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Andrew.
Distance: ~3 km.
Bring: Flower books, magnifying glass.


9 May 2019 – Mont St Baudille

This week we propose the climb to the top of Mont St Baudille. This is a hard walk of about 12 km, starting with a steep climb of 500 m over the first 3 km.

We have talked for some time of the possibility of doing the circular walk to the top of Mont St Baudille (alt. 848 m). The walk entails four sections, each about 3 km long. The first includes all the climbing, rising about 500 m, on stony paths, some of which are quite steep. The second and fourth sections are both gently downhill, one on tracks, the other on a road. The main descent section is again on paths, often stony and occasionally steep. There are excellent views from many points on this walk, particularly at the summit. The plateau section can have a good display of spring flowers, jonquils, tulips, orchids and ornithogalums.

The last half kilometer of the ascent is the steepest and most difficult, with a lot of clambering up stone steps. It is also the most exposed (being on the ridge just below the summit) and can feel quite dangerous in high winds, so it is not advisable to undertake this walk in storm or gale conditions (unless you are very experienced).

The weather is expected to be mostly sunny (after overnight rain) and quite windy. The air temperature is around 15 degrees, so it will feel warm out of the wind but with a significant chill factor in the exposed sections, particularly on the top of the mountain.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. The walk will start from the Font du Griffe on the D122 beyond Arboras, at about 10:45. We should be back in Lodeve by about 16:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 12 km, 500 m climb
Bring: Good shoes, wind and sun protection, snack

2 May 2019 – Cantercel


2019-04-28 17-28-56

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.

4 April 2019 – Daffodils above Gourgas

This is an short walk on the plateau above the Bout du Monde cliffs. It is on footpaths which can be stony, but does not involve any climbs.

2014-03-30-12-24-02.jpgThis is a there-and-back walk of about 6 km, on footpaths near the edge of the plateau above Gourgas. We start the walk near the large house called La Roque, and walk west, to the Bergerie d’Autignac, and then return by the same route. The walk provides stunning views down into the Gourgas valley and (later) towards Soubès, and we should find early flowers, particularly wild dwarf daffodils.

The forecast for Thursday is for considerable wind with not much sun. After overnight rain it will feel quite cold, so come prepared.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the abandoned hamlet near La Roque on the D25E5 at about 10:30. This is the road past the windmill by the roundabout before St Pierre de la Fage. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 6 km, climb 50 m
Bring: Warm clothes

28 March 2019 – Villemagne l’Argentière

This week we propose an all-day walk of about 11 km, in the area between Nissergues (just west of Bédarieux) and Villemagne. This is a hilly area full of old fields, stone walls and shelters, vineyards and orchards, mostly cherry, which should be in full bloom. Most of the walk is on very quiet country roads with good surfaces, but a few sections are on tracks, occasionally in poor condition. It is not a difficult walk, but the roads do go up and down a lot, with some short steep sections.

We start this walk by the Intermarché supermarket between Bédarieux and Hérépian. From here we walk back towards Bédarieux along the Voie Verte, the old railway line to Lamalou. At Nissergues we start the climb to the upper levels of the walk, rising about 100 m (sometimes quite steeply) on a mixture of roads and paths – this is the hardest part of the walk. Once at the top we are in open rolling countryside with good views into the Orb and Mare valleys and across to Le Caroux. The route continues for several kilometers at this level and then descends towards Villemagne, crossing the Mare river. We will stop in the village for a picnic, if we have not done so already. For the return we follow the river for a while and then head up into the cherry orchards, all on good but quiet roads, before descending back to the starting point. From Villemagne it is possible to extend the walk with a visit to the local Pont du Diable – yes, there is more than one.

The forecast for this week is good – mostly sunny, so quite warm, and not particularly windy. Some sections of the walk are shaded, but mostly it will be in full sun.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start from the large Intermarché car-park, at about 10:50. The supermarket is about 2 km beyond the end of Bédarieux, on the road towards Hérépian (the D906). We shall be back in Lodève by the end of the afternoon.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 11 km, climb ~300 m, sometimes steep
Bring: Good shoes, sun protection, drink, picnic.

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.