This 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. Then 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.
Bring: Picnic, water, good shoes, sun protection, stamina
Distance: ~16 km, ~600 m climbing, 5+ hours walking
Difficulty: Some difficult sections.
This is a circular walk of about 7 km, starting in Le Puech and climbing up to the top of a nearby hill, where there is a Dolmen. We visited this spot last year, but using an adjusted route – the proper circuit has now been reopened, and we will follow that. The walk involves a substantial climb (over 200 m) and is a bit tricky underfoot in a few places.
The forecast for this Thursday is for cloud, with rain at the end of the afternoon – we should be back well before that.
As usual we will meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, leaving at 10:00. The walk itself will start from the walkers parking area in Le Puech at about 10:25. We should be back in Lodeve by 14:00.
Distance: ~ 7 km
Bring: Good shoes, snack
A circular walk past the Bergerie d’Autignac, at the edge of the escarpment above Soubès.
View towards Soubes
The forecast for Thursday is rather uncertain, with Meteo France expecting showers all day, and the BBC saying that overnight rain will have passed by the morning.
Jonquils at Bergerie d’Autignac
If the weather is OK we will undertake this circular walk on the edge of the plateau above Soubès. This is an area with lots of wild flowers. In a couple of weeks the asphodels and iris will appear, followed by orchids, but the daffodils (Jonquils) are already in flower. There are excellent views at various points round the walk, past Soubès to Lodève, and down to Gourgas.
The walk is about 7 km, all on good tracks, but more than half is uphill, usually quite gentle. We will stop for a snack when we get to the upper level of the walk (about two thirds of the way round).
To get to the starting point for this walk we need to drive about 3 km on a dirt road from Soubès. The road quality if generally good, but it is steep and precipitous in places, not for the faint-hearted, weak suspension or flagging engines. I suggest that all drivers meet in Lodève so that we can go in convoy to the start.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should be back in Lodève by 14:00.
Distance: ~7 km
A longer walk than usual, over the hills between Cabrières and Péret, passing old Barite mines (Barium Sulphate), including a prehistoric one, several Capitelles, and some interesting water management works.
There will also be a short, alternative walk around Grezac.
This is a circular walk from Cabrières, starting from outside the marie, as we did last week. However, the walk is significantly harder and longer. It rises some 300 m, mostly on tracks that are sometimes steep and stony. The overall distance is more than 10 km, and there will be more than 3 hours walking.
The walk leaves Cabrières by the old route de Peret, then climbs up by paths and tracks, passing several Capitelles and mines (Barytine, or Barite). There are historical mines here, but also evidence of recent open-cast working. From the top we descent towards Peret, but then return by the valley of the Ruisseau du Braun, where there are excavations of a prehistoric mine. Towards the end of the walk we pass an area where a spring is actively managed to create an irrigation system for the hillside fields. Throughout the walk there are excellent views, to Pic de Vissou, the Pyrenees, and Pic St Loup.
As this is a long walk, we will have a proper break in the middle, so bring a substantial snack.
As usual we shall meet at the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00, and the walk should start from Cabrières at about 10:40. We should return to Lodeve about 15:30.
Distance: > 10 km
Ascent: 300+ m
Surface: Rough and stony
Alternative: For those who do not want to undertake a hard walk there will be an alternative local walk starting at the same time from the Cinema, walking in the area of Grezac.
A circular walk in the hills between Mont St Baudille and St Guilhem
This is a walk of about 5km (though with an optional extension to add 2km) on a broad country track around a small hill in the valley between the St Baudille plateau and the St Guilhem hills. It consists of gradual descents and ascents, with a total climb of about 100m.
The starting point is at about km 4.5 on the narrow D122, which starts just outside Arboras (we walked along a bit of this road a couple of weeks ago in our walk from Arboras). We will park at a col where the start and return tracks both meet the road, and there is a clear area for parking (coordinates 43°44’N, 3°30’E, GPS 4842.8, 540.2). This is about 1km beyond the Gite at la Font du Griffe.
As usual we will meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. We should get to the starting point for the walk at about 10:40, and be back in Lodeve by 13:30.
Distance: 5km +
A circular walk starting beside the Lergue at the hamlet of Laulo, and climbing up to the volcanic Auverne plateau beside Lake Salagou
This walk is about 7km, mostly on tracks and quiet roads, and it rises about 150m. We start at Laulo, a hamlet just across the Lergue from Salelles du Bosc, on the road to Mas Audran and Lacoste. The first two kilometers of the walk are all uphill, on a path through the escarpment woods that leads up to the plateau of l’Auverne. This is the flat hill that overlooks the Salagou dam from the north side. At the far side of the plateau we get views down to the lake, and then into the lower Salagou valley and across the Lergue. The track descends, above Mas Audran and then back to Laulo.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should start the walk from Laulo at about 10:25, and be back in Lodeve by 13:00.
If, as forecast, the rain has stopped by Thursday morning, we will walk around the Pas de l’Escalette area, near St Felix de l’Heras. After heavy rain, the waterfall where the Lergue comes off the plateau and into the Pegairolles valley can be dramatic and impressive, so we shall start the walk there. After that we will explore some of the paths and tracks in the area. Mostly this is on country roads but includes some tracks, which may be muddy, so come well shod. The walk will be exploratory, along the beginnings of several walks that start at St Felix, probably no more than 5km.
As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 09:50, ready to leave at 10:00. We should start the walk at around 10:30, and be back in Lodeve by 12:30.