Vailhan - A walk nearby
Thanks to Languedoc Living reader Pam Smith, for this account of a rather lovely walk.
With a pretty drive out to the "Barrage des Olivettes", near the lovely old village of Vailhan in the foothills above Roujan, the walk starts.
It's a 9km/ 3h walk with plenty of variation and interest. There is lots of parking in 3 car parks near the lake. The start of the walk is at the first lake, although it would make a very pleasant place to spend a sunny afternoon beside the water, with lots of picnic benches and pretty views of the castle and village.
From the car park you will see a sign for the walk with blue markers to follow. (The route is marked out for the 6km walk but the sign says 9km). Follow the blue markers up hill and then left onto the plateau. This is the Causses where you will see another picnic area under the trees, and a little further on an view of the lake and the dam.
The dam was built in 1988, but the area has a rich history dating back to the 1100's, of a castle and a rock where coins of this time were found. Walk around the plateau and enjoy the beautiful views across rolling green countryside and down to the coast. Further on you will see the Avant Monts, and behind them the Caroux and the Espinouse.
Finally you will come to a left turn onto a long wide track, keep on this for some time. After about 1km you will come to a small track on the left. If you are walking the shorter 6km trail take this and it will bring you out at the barrage. If not, you will keep on the wider track that stays on the plateau, until you come to some vineyards (this track is marked with a few green markers).
If you want to go to the little village of Paders, take a left then a right onto the d146 into the village, and to the right on the other side of the village to join the trail by the end of the lake. We took another easier route, keeping on the track past the vineyards, and taking a wide track signposted to Vailham that winds down through the scrubby trees back to the lake. This track stays just above the lake all the way back to the dam and down to the car parks.
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