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The Path of Memories


Lovely Day so we decided to go for walk, one I had in mind for a time. Le Sentier du Souvenir translated to The Path of Memories, the Foret de Picaussel is a well known place herabouts because of the “Maquis” the french resistance in this area. As we are in the foothills of the Pyrenees on the borders of Spain and Andorra there was a great deal of activity in this area. Not only planning raids but in smuggling people into Spain on secret tracks and routes through the forests. One such group existed in the Foret de Picassel and the “Command Post” was carefully reconstructed by a local group in 1993 with the story of bravery and many photographs.

Halifax planes bore ammunition and supplies for the resistance fighters by parachute to the site and they managed to hold out and conduct many missions until the Germans discovered the whereabouts and launched a massive assault on 7 August 1944. The French Flag flutters over the hut and the wreath to the fallen lays on the ground.

The route took us on a climb of approx 400 metres through the vallon de Blau through beautiful mixed forest and view points along the way. The furthest sight on the right is the Cathare Castle of Puivert with the village just below. The nearest village is Escale where we started our walk.

It was warm and sunny with wildflowers in bloom and butterflies everywhere, more like mid-June than the first day of May. The woodland is pretty well untouched walking up to the hut. There were tall lime trees with their enormous leaves, ash, oak, wild-cherry, marsh willow and beech. We saw signs of wild pig and deer but no sighting. But we did see red squirrel after noticing the debris on the ground but we are lucky here to have no grey ones at all.

We were very fortunate to spot two Griffon Vultures gliding on the thermals, with a wingspan of around two and half metres and they are hard to miss or mistake. No photograph unfortunately, I am not quick enough and my camera is not good enough!

A pretty photo of an Early Dog Violet with an equally pretty bug on it!

Purple Toothwort is a strange plant and we came across quite a large patch of it, just in one location.

I jut think Golden Archangel is such a lovely name, in fact looking at my wild flower book the names are all amazing.

The walk back down the other side of the valley was mainly through conifer forest. It was not nearly so pretty, but there is a certain majesty about very tall pines that make you want to walk quietly and whisper, a bit like being in a cathedral….so we did.

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lovely views, that wild cherry is beautiful
westminster abbey had trees in it on friday ~ improved it vastly! cathedrals outside would be a good idea.

2 May, 2011


Looks like a very beautiful and peaceful place to have such a history.

2 May, 2011


No gain without pain as they say, the views were lovely Stickitoffee :-) It is possible to get to just the hut more quickly but we took the actual path that was used by the resistance and got a real feel of the actual story behind it Linda.

2 May, 2011


I so enjoyed the beautiful walk, tranquil with the air of past history, wonderful narration created the poetical atmosphere, Thank you .

2 May, 2011


Wonderful views and interesting to see the purple toothwort.

3 May, 2011


I enjoy reading peoples walks, because they are often in places I have never been, so I'm pleased you liked mine Pansypotter.

3 May, 2011


Lots of wonderful views round here Hywel, the trouble is they all involve about a 1000 ft climb minimum :-)

3 May, 2011


lol Oh I wouldn't make it then :)

3 May, 2011


Enjoyed the walk and the views, thank you:-)

25 Jul, 2011

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