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.

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.

18 May 2017 – Le Puech dolmen

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.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~ 7 km
Bring: Good shoes, snack


23 March 2017 – Bergerie d’Autignac

A circular walk past the Bergerie d’Autignac, at the edge of the escarpment above Soubès.

2014-04-10 12-49-30

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.

Leader: Andrew
Distance: ~7 km

16 March 2017 – Les Mines de Cabrières

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.

Leader: Andrew
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.