Before setting off, don’t forget to equip yourselves with warm hat, walking boots, a water-bottle – and of course your camera! All routes are well sign-posted (yellow markers for those approved by the FFR (French hiking federation) or red if classified by the GRP (greater rural trails)
Numerous footpaths await you ranging from two to nine miles. Sporty types might like to blow away the cobwebs in tackling these treks by ‘nordic walking’ .
A jaunt alongside the River Sedelle, the road of St-James of Compostela, the pretty village of Crozant, (setting for the novel Mr. Antoine’s Sin by the celebrated French authoress George Sand) from where there is a spectacular view across the river towards the cliffs of the Rocher Fileuse.
Some circuits :
Between 2 and 4 miles
A walk in the footsteps of the great impressionist painter Monet
In 1906 a bas-relief in honour of the poet and musician Maurice Rollinat was commissioned from the internationally famous sculptor Rodin and installed in the outer wall of the church. Another bust, by local sculptor Paul Surtel, was inaugurated in April, 1939, but it was hidden during the war. In 1960 it was moved to its present position in front of Rollinat’s house at La Pouge.
Rollinat had moved to Fresselines in 1884 and his literary works drew several artists to the area making it an ideal place to discover the cultural heritage of this little-known part of France.
The beauty of the Creuse valley first became known in the 1830s thanks to the novelist George Sand’s love of the area and later numerous painters, including great names such as Monet, Guillaumin and Picabia, were attracted by the charm of its unspoiled aspect and set up their easels on the banks of the river. Even today, contemporary artists are still drawn to the area’s wild scenery. Exhibitions on various art subjects are organised annually at the Espace Monet-Rollinat.
Leave from the church square in Fresselines and take rue Léon Detroy. 100 m after the cemetery
take the path to your left to cross the bridge then turn left. Follow the river to the ford (there are plans to construct a footbridge) cross over then turn right and continue to where the two rivers join. Follow the path to your left until you reach the road (left again) which leads you back to the church square. .
Leaving from the church square take the rue Léon Detroy and follow it down to the bridge. Cross over and turn left towards the old village of Puy-Guillon. Take the path to your right which goes up through a wood until you reach the road. Turn left towards La Renauchat and 100m further on take the path to the left until reaching the fork. Take taleft once again towards the valley until you reach the River Creuse. Follow the left-hand path parallel to the river until reaching the bridge. Cross over and follow the road which leads up to the village.
Saint Sébastien and the Abloux Valley
7 miles approx each
Things to see :
12th-century neo-Roman church at St-Sebastien was completely renovated in 1862 after years of neglect. Impressive buttresses.
The pretty River Abloux runs through the commune There is a local saying that when the river sings, there are trout to be had.
The Abloux Valley
Starting from the Champ de Foire follow the D69 road towards the railway station. On leaving the village, take the second footpath to the left. At the junction bear right, pass the pond , turn right, then left at the crossroad. At Fontperine take the track to your left, straight on then next crossroad turn right. At the road, turn right then immediately left. Take the first right then first left. At the crossroad turn right then first left, pass through the hamlet of Peugeffier. Leaving the village take the track to your left
At the next crossroad take the track to your left and pass alongside the wood until you come to the road. Turn right then at the crossroad turn left. Pass through the hamlet of Labetoulle. Take the first left then first right. Go down the track and through the hamlet of Lanaud. The track then becomes a road. Leaving the hamlet of Lagoutte take the road to your left then the first track to the left. Cross the D171 road and take the path opposite, then the first track to the left and first right. Bear right until you come to the road. Turn right and continue to the finish.
Starting from the railway station, take the D69 road towards St-Sebastien village to get on the circuit of La Planche aux Pelerins (The Pilgrims’ Plank). Facing the station turn left then first right which goes over the railway line. First left. Ignore the first two tracks to the right then take the next left, once again crossing the railway line. At the crossroad go straight on until the road, where you turn right and go through St-Sebastien. Leaving the village, take the path towards Forgevielle , take the first road to the right then the first footpath to the right. At the next fork bear left, go right through the hamlet of Labussière and turn left onto the road, then take the track opposite, then the third path to the right. At the crossroad take the footpath to the left up to the road. When you reach the crossroad turn right then straight on and take the track opposite up to the D71 road. Take the first right then first left. Continue until you reach the railway station.
Saint Sulpice le Dunois Le Mas Saint Jean
1,5 miles & 7 miles
Leave from the Place de l’Eglise (church square) and go up the main road . Turn right towards Villemalard, go downhill and and take the first track to the right. Keep going until you reach the road. Turn right and halfway down the hill take the track to the right. At the road, take the track opposite then turn right. Go through the hamlet of Grand Monpion, cross the bridge and follow the track opposite. Go through the wood. At the road turn right and 100m further on take the track to the left. Go down as far as the chapel and take the next track. At the road turn right then next left. Just at the entry to the hamlet turn right and go alongside the pond. At the junction take the left-hand track. At the crossroad turn right and then right again onto the road. Take the first left and go under the bridge. Take the first track left. Bear right until the road. Turn right and go through the village as far as the church.
Le Mas Saint Jean
Leave from the Chapel of the Mas Saint Jean and go towards the village. After 50m leave the road which bears left and take the uphill track opposite. After leaving the wood turn left in La Clainière, At the junction, bear right then take the first left. Carry straight on. Turn right at the track which goes down towards the road.
Villard Maison Feyne Dun le Palestel
Between 3,5 § 9 miles
Things to see
The church of St John the Baptist at Maison Feyne was originally built in the 11th-century but altered during the two centuries following. It is classified as a historical monument.
There is an outbuilding once part of the Pompadour stud farm. (The stud was established in 1751 by the Marquis of Pompadour, closed after the revolution and then re-opened by Napoleon. It became a national . breeding station in 1872.)
. Le Terrail is a large site comprising several barns and a dovecote. .
Leaving from the Mairie (town hall) take the road towards Dun-le-Palestel then take the first left towards Beauvais. On entering the hamlet turn left towards Le Pêcher then take the first right. At the second crossroad turn left to reach the D46 road. Turn right and follow this road for 300m. Take the track facing you then turn right. Leaving the hamlet turn right then left at the crossroad up to the road, turn right then left at the next track. Ignore the circuit V11 to your right then turn left At the junction turn right and continue to the road, turn right again and on to the finish.
Le Gué Cornu
Start from the Mairie (Town Hall) and go towards Dun-le-Palestel and take the first left towards Beuavais. As you enter the hamlet turn left (direction Le Pêcher) then take the first track to the right. At the second crossroad turn left to reach the D46 road. Turn right and continue for 300m then take the track facing you. Leaving the hamlet, take the track to the right. At the crossroad turn left, go up to the road, where you turn right, then first left. Ignore the V12 circuit to your left and take the track to the right. At the crossroad turn left then right. Continue along to the road (NB watch out for slippery stones), turn leftuntil the entry to the hamlet La Prugne; turn left and then right
Carry straight on to the D5 road and follow the signpost towards Ténèze Take the first track to the right and at the end of the lane turn left. At Ténèze go through the hamlet and, leaving the hamlet, take the third track to the right. After the hairpin bend take the track to your left. At the sewage pond take the track to the left. Leaving the wood, take the track to the right. At the crossroad go left for 50m up to the D46 road.At the first junction tuirn right then take the second right. When you reach the castle, turn left anf left again. At the crossroad take the track facing you and follow until the road and turn right. Take the first right then left then straight on until you reach Villard..
Leave from the gymnasium car park at Dun-le-Palestel, cross the D951 road towards Villard , keep straight on until you reach the stud farm building. Take the path to the left then immediately right onto the track. At the road, turn right. At the junction take the track facing you. At the next junction go right along the road for a while then follow the track to the end and turn right. At the D44 road turn left (take care, this can be a busy road) then take the first left. At the crossroad follow the track facing you and at bottom take the lane to the left. At the road turn right. At the crossroad go left then the path to the right. At the road, turn right and continue until the finish.