Some photos from last Thursday's 10.5 km hike.
|An old bread oven in a rural garden. Many old houses have them and people use them for pizzas.|
|A new bridge on the future greenway, to replace the clapped out railway bridge. Apparently horseriders aren't happy with the current high step onto the bridge. We assume an earth ramp will be constructed.|
|The Golden Retriever who lives at this rural house is known to his family by the unlikely name of Loki.|
|The Claise River at Le Grand Pressigny, just upstream from where the Aigronne meets it.|
|Ruined bread oven at a salt smuggler's house in the forest.|
Many years ago, apparently, according to my sources, before the house was quite so ruined, there was a proposal from the Syndicat d'Initiative (the precursor to the Tourist Office) to clean up this site (including the tunnel from one building to another) and make it into a small visitor attraction. Mind you, according to Denise, the tunnel is so small and narrow that even as a young woman she never attempted to go through it. But the property is privately owned and the owner uninterested or unwilling to allow it.
|A bench by the side of a track in the forest, made of old gravestones from the local cemetery.|
At one point in the walk we came across this stone bench, in the middle of nowhere. Denise says she can remember there being a clearing in the woods here, with a well and a picnic table made from an enormous tree stump. The picnic area, of which the bench is the only visible vestige, was another project of the Syndicat d'Initiative, which has not existed for about forty years. Over time, with no maintenance programme in place, the woods have closed in and the clearing become overgrown, the well is nowhere to be seen and the stump table has rotted completely away. At the time the picnic area was set up it was considered quite alright to use gravestones in this way and this is not the only bench like this along the rural walking paths in this area. I doubt it would be permitted or seen as appropriate these days.
|Passion flower on a vine growing over a garden fence in Le Grand Pressigny.|
|A very friendly spaniel gets carted off.|
This young spaniel was very excited to have a group of walkers go past his equine pension home. His Dad, the farmer, had to come out and retrieve him so he stayed safely at home.
|Inside an abandoned fertilizer factory complex.|
Denise decided to go all urban explorer and poke about in the abandoned Mittaine fertilizer factory. There's not much to see and I've never been able to find out much about the place. It was clearly there in 1933 as the Conseil Général minutes show that they discussed how to respond to complaints about the factory (they voted to simply keep a watchful eye on things). Mittaine seems to have also had a hydro-electric plant, which I assume was built to power the fertilizer factory.
|Jackie walks Bruno in front of the abandoned Mittaine fertilizer factory. |
Just as I was photographing the factory Jackie came by with her new dog. He is a beautiful young Bruno du Jura hound that she got from the rescue kennels in Chatellerault. She thinks he was probably abandoned for being gun shy as he doesn't like sharp noises, but otherwise is a lovely animal. He will need some training of course, but he is quite the most appealing dog I have met in ages, like an athletic and cheerful Bloodhound.
The Bruno du Jura is an ancient Swiss hunting hound breed used in France for hunting hares since the 15th century.
|An anti smoking sticker on an internal door in the factory.|
The sticker comes from the Ligue contre le cancer (League against Cancer), a campaigning support and information charity working to help those with cancer and educate the public about the disease. [Ligue Contre le Cancer] It says 'Here, we don't smoke!' and 'We are proud to protect our employees, as well as all non-smokers', then at the bottom in red, 'New era, new air' (which is better in French because 'nouvelle ère' and 'nouvel air' are homonyms). I don't know when it dates from.
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