Trail running No. 29 Versols – Hermilix
The attractive side: a box-tree maze and a ford across a brook. The technical side: a single track along the edge of a ravine, a downhill section to be managed cautiously and a final ascent that might surprise many people. With the hallmark of the lavogne, a watering place for sheep in Hermilix, this unique running trail stretches throughout an agro-pastoral landscape, where you only go down to go up again!
2 points of interest
How a lavogne works is very easy to understand, just imagine a gigantic upturned umbrella that collects rainwater!
At the beginning there was a natural pond with an impervious clay soil. This small pond was a real boon for people who quickly set these watering sources up as they were so critical on the causses where water seeps into the cracked limestone. To start with, they tiled the inside of the pond and finished off the work by laying paving stones around the edge of the pond to preserve the water quality and prevent gullying due to the large flocks trampling the soil when the sheep come to drink.
The pond tiling was made either with lauzes, flat stones or with paving stones laid one after the other.
Once completed, this gigantic upturned umbrella would provide a great variety of animals with a welcoming habitat, just look down over a lavogne and see how it swarms and buzzes with life, what a frenzy of activity!
Castle and remains of fortification walls
The Roquefeuil family lived here over a period of eight centuries, from 1250 to 1810, the date on which the owning family had to sell the castle. The building was then sold to different owners and part of it was converted into a farmhouse. Then in 1962, a couple from the Roquefeuil family bought back the stronghold.The castle and the whole of the old village were included in a walled area called a castrum which spread out between the Sorgues and the Verzolet rivers. The castrum was originally composed (11th century) of only a small castle that was later extended during the 13th or 14th century to protect people from the clashes during the One Hundred Years War.
- Hardly have you crossed the bridge that you quickly leave the village through a porch and a lovely small lane leading directly to the path sloping to Sayssou. So that’s a 270 m positive elevation over a 2.1 km rising distance, by a beautiful single-track that goes on the side of a ravine.
- Once you’ve reached Sayssou, a change in the landscape is noticeable; you are now running across an agricultural plateau through a maze of straight buissières to reach the hamlet of Hermilix known for its dolmens, its lavogne and its buissières.
- After passing the big farm, the way down to the Verzolet valley is already there. In the beginning, the itinerary follows a great tree tunnel. Further on, the slope becomes steeper, and the path goes very technical and requires you to be careful with the numerous rock piles scattered on the ground.
- On the valley bottom, the brook must be crossed on an ancient footbridge buried under mossy box trees.
- You then start the gentle ascent of the Verzolet left bank to reach the path that runs around the mont-Grand. The beginning is severe and features a steep climb to manage: 270 m of positive elevation over a 2 km distance.
- After the top has been reached, the way down is carried out via the Calm tree farm and Notre Dame du Cayla. The gentle slope allows you to get back to this peaceful village with its well-preserved castle, narrow medieval lanes and old houses.
- Departure : parking lot situated on the left bank of the Sorgues, next to the bridge
- Arrival : parking lot situated on the left bank of the Sorgues, next to the bridge
- Towns crossed : Versols-et-Lapeyre and Saint-Affrique
Water supply – energy food supply – appropriate shoes - rain jacket
Saint-Affrique Tourist Office
Boulevard Aristide Briand, 12400 Saint-Affrique
The Tourism Office is open all year round, the opening hours are:
·July and august:
From Monday to Saturday: 9h – 13h & 15h – 19h
Sunday: 9h – 13h
·From September to June:
From Tuesday to Saturday: 9h – 13h & 14h – 17h
Closed: Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays
From November to April, the office is also closed on Saturday afternoon.
Access and parking
Versols is situated 10 km south of Saint-Affrique via the D7 road towards Cornus.
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