7 June 2018 – Orchids?

Purple Orchid

The forecast for Thursday is uncertain but not too good. Meteo France thinks there will be thunderstorms, but the BBC thinks they will hold off until the evening. So we will go ahead with the planned wander around the orchid area on the Guilhaumard Plateau, expecting to be rained on a bit!

The early orchids have largely finished, but there are lots of later ones coming through. We will wander around the area (near La Pezade), covering 2 to 3 km. There seems quite a high chance that we will be rained on at some point, so come prepared, though we will always be less than 1 km from the cars if there is a real storm.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, for departure at 10:00. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Andrew.
Distance: 2-3 km.
Bring: Flower books, magnifying glass, raincoat.

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31 May 2018 – Orchids on the Guilhaumard

This week we will do our annual orchid outing, to the Guilhaumard plateau near La Pezade. This is turning our to be a very good year for flowers, so there should be lots of orchids to spot and identify. As a result, the overall amount of walking will be quite limited, only a few kilometers, more of a wander than a walk.

The current weather forecast suggests the possibility of showers in the morning, though warm with some moderate wind. If this should change significantly we will post a postponement or other revision of the plan!

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, for departure at 10:00. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Leader: Andrew.
Distance: 2-3 km.
Bring: Flower books, magnifying glass.

3 May 2018 – Wild flowers on the Guilhaumard

This week we will do the walk on the southern edge of the Guilhaumard plateau (as most years), where there is a good range of wild flowers. With luck we will see Daffodils, Tulips, Fritillaires, Pasque flowers, perhaps La Dame a Onze Heures, and more early orchids.

2004_0515BCThis is a walk of about 7 km, mostly flat though with one short climb in the middle. The first 2 km section is on a quiet road, and the rest on tracks and footpaths, occasionally stony. This area has few pine trees, so processionnaire caterpillars should not be a problem. The forecast is for a windy day with some cloud, not a hot day!

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, from a parking area at La Frayssinede, at the beginning of the road that leads from the D493 towards Mas Reynal and Canals. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7 km, climb 50 m

Walks for May

The following walks are planned for the next few weeks. As always, plans may change, depending on availability and weather!

  • 3rd May – Wild flowers on the Guihaumard. This is the walk starting near La Bastide des Fonts, that we have done regularly in recent years. It often reveals a good display of early wild flowers.
  • 10th May – Ben will lead a walk on Mont Liausson.
  • 17th May – Dorine will lead a walk, as yet unspecified.
  • 24th May – Not yet decided. Any suggestions for a walk on this date will be welcome.
  • 31st May – Orchids on the Guihaumard. Our annual outing in the area of Canals, famous for the range of orchids that can be found.

We are always looking for new walks, so if you have a favourite that you would like to propose for the group, just let me know – send a message to AJWalkers {at} Westlakes.org.uk.

Andrew

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

27 April 2017 – Wild flowers on the Guilhaumard

A circular walk on the Guilhaumard Plateau, near La Bastide des Fonts

It looks as though this will be a good year for wild flowers, so this week we will repeat a walk that we did at the same time last year. We should see some early orchids, pasque flowers, and fritillaires (very localised, but profuse this year).

The walk starts from a parking area near the start of the turning towards Canals, a couple of kilometers after La Bastide des Fonts. We walk for a couple of kilometers along the (very quiet) D493 to the Pas de Licous, and then follow a circuit of tracks across the plateau. The route goes up and down a bit and is sometimes stony underfoot, but is not difficult, with a total length of about 7 km.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, for departure at 10:00. The walk should start from the parking area at about 10:40. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7 km

23 June 2016 – Sorgues valley

All-day walk from Mas Reynal, including a steep ascent

2016-04-16 12-52-08.JPGThis is a hard but interesting walk, from Mas Reynal on the Guilhaumard plateau down the Sorgues valley, passing the résurgence of the river and La Mouline (below Cornus), then returning by the GR through St Rome de Berlières, a total of about 15km.

About 80% of this walk is gently downhill, mostly on stony paths and tracks, but some on quiet roads. That indicates that all the uphill sections, rising over 400m in total, are very steep. Most of the climb is in one short section, of less that a kilometer, when we follow a route straight up the escarpment of the plateau. 2016-04-16 15-21-03.JPGThis is on a proper path, part of the Grand Randonnée, but it is consistently steep and some of it is not in good condition (after the storms of 2015), so it is hard work, requiring good shoes and stamina.

Some of the walk is wooded, but most is open, so come well prepared in hot weather, with a hat, sun cream and plenty of fluids. And bring a picnic for a lunch stop (after the climb). The walk takes about 5 and a half hours, depending on walking speed and duration of stops. The steep ascent takes 40 minutes if you don’t stop.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~15km
Climb: ~400m
Duration: ~5.5 hrs including breaks