Good legs are needed to tackle the northern branch of the Réseau Vert ®, which this section inaugurates. After crossing the valley of the Orb through vineyards and fruit trees, where the little chapel of Saint-Pierre is nestled, a tough climb follows towards the old coal mines of Camplong.
THE MINING EPIC (1769-1993)
At the entrance to the Espaze valley, near the information panels of the Arboretum, you will discover the remains of the "chevalement" of the Puits Durand, which remained in operation until 1993, on the very site of the Sainte-Marguerite, the first mine opened in 1769. First extracted from the depths, the coal was then mined in the "open air", leaving the imprint of amphitheatre steps on nearly 1,000 hectares of degraded hills. As part of the rehabilitation of the site, 130,000 trees have been replanted on Camplong in recent years.
THE ARBORETUM OF L'ESPAZE
Between the Col de Peyremale and the Col de Serviès, the Espaze valley (which means "sword blow"), concentrates an exceptional geological and botanical diversity. Recently, in 1993, the botanist François Chaudière inventoried 172 species of shrubs, varying in size from 1 metre to 50 metres in height, which, depending on the season, form a veritable "fantastic symphony" of shapes and colours.