‘The best walk yet’ announced ‘I’m only the chauffeur’ as we reached the halfway point of last Monday’s walk. It was, indeed, one of the better ones that I have found this summer.
In fact, I have known of this place’s existence for a while. In our gite I have several files. The result of boredom one winter. Fed up with tidying the umpteen brochures for tourist sites in the Lot that collected for the clients to peruse I hit upon putting them into a folder. As we are ‘a cheval’ with the Correze and the Dordogne they soon spawned their own folders. The Chateau de Sedieres is in the Correzian folder. I found it online and thought it might make a good outing on a rainy day.
Built in the 15th century it has had a chequered past, finishing up as an orphanage that closed in 1904. After some years of abandonment it was bought by the department in the 1960s and since 1974 has been a centre of ‘loisirs’ and cultural events. I knew the chateau itself was closed due to covid and its various summer activities severely curtailed but it has extensive grounds (130 hectares) with several ‘pistes’ for walkers, runners and cyclists. At the fag end of the summer holidays I thought it should be reasonably quiet.
The map I found online and that was nestling in my pocket was repeated on a big board by the entrance and again at the start of the various walks. Called the ‘circuit des etangs’ it is 5.3km, not to be confused with the other circuit of 15km.
We set off, first walking beside the pretty etang called, unsurprisingly, the etang du chateau..
Walking up and away from it we came to a gate with a turn marked to the right and we began to doubt our direction. A family with children had started just ahead of us and had disappeared to our left where cheerful shouts could be heard coming from below. Both walks used yellow balises and neither of us fancied walking 15km before lunch! After backtracking we decided to follow it anyway and hoped it would resolve itself. And, of course, it did.
‘Saving on paint’ commented Lou. We turned off the gravel track and began walking along a grassy forest one. This walk was described as an easy family walk ie suitable for pushchairs and aged grandparents like us!
The path led us up and down gently through pine trees. Suddenly an etang opened up on our left, just as that family erupted from the undergrowth to our right. This happened a couple of times over the next hour. We decided they knew the place well and were taking short cuts. However, they rarely seemed to be near us so we walked alone all the time. A notice board announced we were passing the etang de Agadis.
From here the path curved away and up, into more mixed woodland.
i noticed ‘that’ moss along the bank and, touching it, decided it too was spagnum moss, however, the path was dry. It was not long after this that himself made his announcement about the merit of the walk. I began to feel a little smug!
After a while, we noticed huge wood piles on a rise away to our right.
i assumed that the department logs the land to earn money to keep the place running but, later on, we crossed a small road and found an information board detailing why so much land had been cleared.
Apparently, continuous dry summers are taking their toll on the bigger pine trees and they are slowly dying. In particular, a species called Vancouver pine which is especially thirsty. They are working to eradicate it and replant with a less demanding species.
We walked past banks of blackberries, sadly all shrivelled from the heat, and a few woodland flowers appeared.
And then we came to the third etang of our circuit. There were waterlilies, well, more leaves than flowers, and I wondered if the leaves disappear in the colder months. We had already decided that this would be a lovely place to walk in the winter. Maybe there are migrating wildfowl that use the abundance of ponds.
I asked a passing cyclist (our first) if this was indeed Etang Neuf. It was and it was the etang we had driven past on our way into the chateau grounds.
A lovely spot, with a tiny parking space and picnic table just off the road which we had to cross to continue.
Across the road the woods were darker and we climbed before descending down and down past a marshy area. I lost himself as I stopped to take photos of flowers…and accidently, a wasp!
The marshy area was fenced off but with a sign explaining why. I found all these signs very reassuring, that something was actually taking place to safeguard the environment rather than the seeming neglect of the etang de La Champ a few weeks ago.
At the bottom of the long slope (complaining knees!) we came out onto a wide open space and the etang de la Prade.
The yellow balise led us around the left hand side of the water where there was a view of the chateau above the trees at the far end. Below us on our right was a tiny etang in the middle of that marshy area, still fenced off.
So now just a walk through the trees along the side of the water. We noted several picnic tables dotted about. But as ours was back in the car there was no stopping for lunch.
As we rounded the end of the etang de la Prade, we passed our final and tiniest etang of the circuit, the etang Noir. i imagine it was created when the high ground we were walking across was built to hold back the waters of its bigger neighbour.
We came up to the gate where we had been so concerned about doing that fifteen kilometre walk…’we’ll do that next time,’ ‘I’m only the chauffeur’ promised!
There were one or two empty picnic tables close to the chateau but in full sun so we picked a shady spot close to the car and relaxed.
Before we left Clergoux, the nearest town, we checked out another etang close by, the etang de Bos Redon, that could be a future walk ‘n picnic spot. But for now, happy memories of this one!