Crooked House

A country life in France

Down to the Gartempe

Our home is situated in an area that you might call the wider Gartempe Valley. It is actually almost 7 kilometres to the river, straight down the D10 in the Lathus direction,  but close enough to pop the dog into the car and head off to look at a new territory for her walk today.

Nell’s usual daily walk takes in part of Boucle no 9, one of the loops that makes up a chain of walks called the Circuit Du Roc à St Rô. Boucle no 9 encircles Maison Celle and terminates the chain at this end. It offers us a 7.5 kilometre walk straight from the door when we are feeling energetic. Today we wanted to see somewhere new and picked Boucle no 4, which lies along the far side of the Gartempe. It is listed as a 10 kilometre walk.

La Gartempe from the bridge


La Gartempe from the other side of the bridge – no kayakers today


All credit to the Department for setting up these walks and for providing map boards and publications. Unfortunately the walk descriptions leave a great deal to be desired and there is never any indication of difficulty of or any figures of ascent. This 10k turned out to be a nudge over 11k and, in common with the vast majority of our French walks so far, featured not a single bench. It did however offer a great deal of up and down. According to my FitBit we did the equivalent of 52 flights of stairs… according to my hips, we may well have done more than that.

What is wrong with these people. Have they never hear of a ridge walk. You go up, you stay up, you come down when the scent of beer assails your nostrils. Job done. What’s with all of this upping and downing and nary a bench to rest one’s weary bones upon!

Apart from that, Boucle no 4 is a pleasant walk indeed. The route takes in tarmac on all-but empty roads; tree-lined chemins; sentiers hedged in by blackthorn, rose and crabapple; woodland paths and waterways (sadly all currently dry). It also passes through the Ferme Pedagogique, which was a delightful spot with donkeys, rabbits and pigs in evidence plus a great deal of metal art work. The farm is part of the CPA Lathus, which has a riding school on the edge of Lathus, the Farm, and also a centre for outdoor activities down on the riverside at La Voulzie. Our walk returned along the road by the river and took us past the centre shortly before ending up back at the car, which we had parked by the river in the space provided for people wanting to visit the Roc d’Enfer.

Here the photos ran out, long before we reached the halfway point. I abandoned my camera bag for the sake of easier walking and it went into Mr L’s rucksack.

One day we shall pay a proper visit to the Ferme Pedagogique. We will certainly do this walk again but next time in cooler conditions and I shall be forewarned and properly equipped with my walking poles to ease my passage down some of the spteeper inclines.

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