A December walk in the Ardeche mountains

Walking in the Ardeche mountains

1walking up to the mountainI don’t think I’ve ever taken photos of the other side of our mountain before.

This was part of our lovely walk on Christmas day. Before the cold and snow made such an abrupt appearance.

We share part of our mountain with an eco museum. It’s a wonderful place.  The hamlet once housed about 90 people from around 50 families in the beginning of the 1900s. And the population now is about five. That’s one family (the original owners of the eco museum) and a group of young French people who have been living in a caravan in the hamlet for most of the year. 1hay stacks

They are lucky enough to have some land – rented to them by a local farmer perhaps – and they have started to clear it with the best agicultural method their is. Goats.

It was always a bit tricky when you go for a walk along the footpath that skirts the front of the hamlet. You just never knew if you would come across the young couple, emerging from their caravan dressed in their undies or other interesting states of undress.

1hay stack detailBut they are keen and willing to work hard for their piece of land. And they ought to be applauded for sticking it. There is no decent supply of fresh water at the hamlet, so bathing is a bit of luxury in their rather basic life.

They have yappy dogs which usually warn them of ambling walkers going past their very publicly parked home.

But the location is stunning and well worth a visit.  When you approach it from our side of the mountain you can see the open field at the top.  Decorated with an ancient method of hay bailing. Perfect for teaching people who come for a week to learn all about life in these parts.

The hay is stacked in a conical shape and then propped up by long straight chestnut poles. Lashed together, these form a protection against heavy rain and winter weather. And keeps the deer out.

A necessary protection around these parts.