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


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



6 July 2017 – Forêt de Parlatges

With the return of the hot weather we propose another forest walk, in the area between Parlatges and St Pierre de la Fage.

The forecast for Thursday is for a largely sunny day, with temperatures reaching 30°. We propose a walk of about 5 km in the forest below St Pierre de la Fage. The walk is all on forest tracks, and is all down hill for the first half, and uphill for the rest, with a total climb of about 200 m, much of it shaded. At the lower points there are good views down to Parlatges and beyond towards St Etienne and Soubes.

As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 8:50, for departure at 9:00. The walk will start from the walkers car park at St Pierre de la Fage – just after the main roundabout in the village, on the road to La Vacherie, turn right on the narrow road indicating the car park, which you reach after nearly 1 km. We should start from here at about 9:30, and be back in Lodeve by 12:30.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~5 km, 200 m climb
Bring: Sun protection, water.

22 June 2017 – Forêt des Monts d’Orb

A relatively easy and short walk in the forest south of Ceilhes, overlooking the Lac d’Avène.

This is a walk of about 6 km, in a forest and so largely in the shade, around the Canton de Bouisse. It is all on easy tracks, but rarely completely flat, with about 100 m of climb. In many places there are good views down to the lac d’Avène and its barrage. The hot weather is expected to continue, but there should be a reasonable breeze to offset the heat.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 8:50 ready to set off at 9:00. The walk will start from a parking area at the Col de la Moutoune, on the D8 between Ceilhes and Avène, at about 9:50. The walk will take about 2 hours, so we should be back in Lodeve by 13:00. Alternatively, it should be possible to get lunch at the cafe by the little lake in Ceilhes.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 6 km
Bring: Water

15 June 2017 – Escandorgue Forest

This is a short and fairly easy walk in the (largely shaded) Escandorgue forest.

The forecast for Thursday is for continuing high temperatures, but with increasing wind and some cloud for the afternoon. So we propose a walk in the Escandorgue forest, where there will be a reasonable amount of shade. The walk is about 6 km, all on forest tracks, with ascents and descents throughout.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 08:50 ready to depart at 9:00. We should start the walk at about 9:20, from the parking area at the entrance to the forest, on the D142 just opposite the turning to Roqueredonde. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 6 km, ~ 50 m of ascent.
Bring: Sun cream, water.

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.

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