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.

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11 January 2018 – Grezac

The forecast for this Thursday is uncertain/unsettled, so we propose a local walk, which can easily be cancelled if the weather arrives with more than light drizzle.

This week we will do one of several possible walks up and around the Grezac area of Lodeve. The walk is likely to be about 6 km, and will involve the ascent to the higher areas of the Grezac slopes, at most 200 m of climbing. About half of the walk will be on quiet roads (with some traffic) and half on paths, some of which are stony and some of which are occasionally fairly steep. The views are excellent!

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave, on foot, at 10:00. We should be back at the Cinema by 12:30 at the latest.

21 December 2017 – Nebian

This is a relatively easy walk of about 5 km around the hills above Nebian. We have done this walk several times before, the last about 2 years ago. It is mostly on good tracks and quiet roads, but involves some stony paths and a little bit of climbing.

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Nebian

Next Thursday is forecast to be mostly sunny but windy. We propose to repeat a walk around Nebian that we have done several times before. It is about 5 km, mostly on tracks and quite roads, though with one section on a stony path. The total climb is about 120 m.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to leave at 10:00. The walk will start from the main car park in the middle of Nebian at about 10:25. We should be back in Lodeve by 13:00.

Organiser: Andrew
Distance: 5 km, 120 m climb

30 November 2017 – Notre Dame de Capimont

This is a walk from Lamalou-les-Bains up to a chapel on a high cliff overlooking the town. It is a fairly long walk of about 8 km, rising about 250 m. Most of the walk is on easy tracks, but with one steep and stony section.

The forecast for this week is that it will be cold and bright, with moderate winds. Most of the walk is easy – the first part is on the old railway line (now a Voie Verte) from Bedarieux to Lamalou, Olargues, St. Pons and beyond – but for the third kilometre we join a GR route and ascend to the chapel on a stony and sometimes steep path. The chapel is set in a large green area with excellent views in various directions, down to Lamalou and across the hills. We will stop for a pause here, so bring a snack. For the return we go down the first part of our upwards route, but then turn onto a long but gentle descent back to the town.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk itself will start from the old railway station in Lamalou at about 11:00 – enter Lamalou from the D908 roundabout, and after about 200 m take the turning on the left, with a sign to Voie Verte. The walk will take about 3 hours, so we should be back in Lodeve by 15:00.

Organiser: Andrew
Distance: 8 km, 3 hours, rising 250 m
Bring: Snack

23 November 2017 – La Jasse

This is a flat circular walk of about 6 km on the plateau above Millau, which we have done before, though not for several years.

The forecast for next Thursday is that it will be warmer than of late, with not much wind, but it will be very overcast, with the risk of drizzle. This walk is on tracks and quiet roads on the plateau, but reaches the edge of the escarpment, with views down to the Tarn valley and Millau, and across to the Millau Bridge. We often see vultures in this area, though that is less likely with low cloud.

As usual we shall meet outside the Lodeve Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The forecast for Millau is better than for Lodeve, so we will leave even if it is raining in Lodeve. The walk itself will start at about 10:50 from the Maison du Larzac (also known as La Jasse), on the D809 road from the motorway to Millau. Access is via a slip-road on the right (with a sign-post) and then through a narrow tunnel under the dual carriageway.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: 7 km

26 October 2017 – Dio

This is a moderate walk of about 9 km starting at the picturesque village of Dio, ascending (about 150 m) to the plateau above, and then doing a circuit with views across the Orb valley to Le Bousquet and across the ruffes towards Salagou.

2017-10-23 14-32-22The first part of this walk is all uphill, on a good (drive-able) track which rises about 150 m over a bit less than 2 km. It is relentlessly uphill, but never very steep. After about 45 mins we reach the plateau, where we do a circuit, with some ups and downs, but all at generally the same level. Much of the walk is around the edge of the plateau, with good views back towards Dio, down into the Orb valley, and (later) across towards the Salagou area. The middle part of the circuit is across the plateau past the wind turbines near Les Piochs and the Plo de Laurier. At the end of the circuit we descend to the village by the initial track. For those not in a rush to return it is possible to walk around the grounds of the castle.

As usual we shall meet outside the Luteva Cinema at 9:50, ready to depart at 10:00. The walk will start at Dio at about 10:40, and we should be back in Lodeve by 14:00, or maybe a little later. The forecast for Thursday is for sun and not much wind, with temperatures over 20°, so bring enough water, and a snack.

For those wanting to drive directly, at Le Pont d’Orb (after Lunas and just before crossing the Orb river) turn left onto the D8. After about 5 km you will see Dio up on your left. Turn up towards the village, and, after passing the foot of the castle, take the right turn towards Valquières. After 200 m turn left into the large grassy parking area, from where we will start. It is also possible to take the D8 in the other direction, via Octon or Liausson, but that is a much slower route.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~9 km, climbing ~ 200 m
Bring: water, snack

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.