Thursday, April 19, 2012

Source de Mireille and Bastide du Bois

This is a different type of afternoon walk (about 3 hours), starting off along the river that always flows out of Source de Mirail (feeds Etang de la Bonde) and following north along a kind of ridge with good views of the Luberon most of the way. On the return down from the ruins of the waste Bastide du Bois, you can opt to explore yet another dry river bed with its steep stony landscape.

Head out for La Motte-d’Aigues and continue to St-Martin-de-la-Brasque and passing this village going east on the D27, you soon turn left for Peypin d’Aigues (D42). After only one kilometre, turn left at the 392 meter point and drive up to the intersection at the 409 meter point, where you can park, or park at a small car park another 200 meter up to the right.
The walk starts at the 409 meter point by going left over the bridge and turn immediately right afterwards, heading north-west along the river (on the road to start with). After some 200 meters, take the footpath that takes off to the right (down to the river) and follow the river all the way up to Source de Mirail (20 minutes). The correct path never has a distance from the river of more than about 30 meters, but most of the way you are next to it.

The Source de Mirail is locked up behind bars, but continue now along the dry river bed slightly to the right. There are lots of paths that goes off everywhere, but just time your walk down in the almost dry river bed to about 10 minutes. Here you see that the river bed splits into 2 rivers and in the middle, a dirt track takes off strait on up the hill out of the river bed. You take this dirt track and stay on it all the way till it hits the big Forest Road at the 638 meter point (60 min.) On the way up you will pass the ruins of a small house on the right just after the 513 meter point (40 min.) and there will be fantastic views of the Luberon after the 595 meter point.

When you reach the Forest Road, take right and simply follow this to the large ruins of Bastide du Bois (1h 25 min).

The return walk goes along the yellow marked Forest Road strait south, but for those who fancy exploring more of the large river beds that leads up to the Source Mirail, I suggest you take the steep small path down to the right just after the 512 meter point (just short of 20 minutes from Bastide du Bois). If you follow this river bed, you will end up at the same intersection where you left the river bed earlier, i.e. where the river split into 2 rivers. From here it’s 10 minutes down to the Source de Mirail, and simply take the same path back as you came.

If you don’t want to go down into a the deep river bed, you could opt to walk only some 250 meters further on the yellow marked road and take the path that takes off to the right (quite a small path). It simply takes you around to the other side of the hill, where the path turns strait southwards and meets a small road (15 minutes) just above the Source de Mirail. From here, follow the road back to the car or go down to the Source and follow the river back.

Basic information:
Duration: 2 ½ h (with total of 30 minutes breaks)
Distance: 10 km.
Ascent: 350 m
Difficulty: Easy
Start/finish: La Motte-d’Aigues, 409 m point by la Sarriere
Map: IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)

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