Before 1861, the house at the Col de la Serreyrède was inhabited by two families of farmers. They owned some livestock and had a vegetable garden, whose terraces you can still see above the La Caumette track. From 1861 on, the farm was inhabited by a forest ranger. It was only bought by the state body Eaux et Forêts in 1883, to be turned into a forester's house. It became one of Georges Fabre's headquarters during the reforestation of the Aigoual massif. The Cévennes National Park, tourism office and Terres d'Aigoual growers have now joined forces to revive La Serreyrède with the help of the Communauté de Communes Causses Aigoual Cévennes – Terres solidaires.
The association "Terres d'Aigoual"
The Cévennes National Park rents out part of the building to the association, enabling local farmers to sell their products directly to the public. The association brings together farmers who wish to promote what they produce and share their know-how. They also enjoy sharing their vision of farming- high quality produce and products,
- human-sized farms,
- mutual aid.
Come and discover their products!
From beech copse to mature plantation
Around 1850, before reforestation began, the inhabitants of the Cevennes were using local wood resources on a massive scale for heating and in industry, especially spinning-mills. Gradually, only a few beech copses remained, which were cut every 25 to 40 years. Grazing by tens of thousands of sheep further reduced the herbaceous plant cover. Much weakened, the plant cover was then also subjected to heavy precipitation, the so-called Cevenol episodes. It is against this backdrop that the lengthy work of the foresters began. To reduce risks and establish a lasting forest cover, the first technique was to make use of what was already present by converting the disused copses into mature plantations.
Another method of creating a durable forest cover is to plant or sow. This work is carried out either on bare soil or among existing tree stands. The Aigoual reforestation programme was a gigantic effort, requiring 900,000 days of work, the planting of 60 million conifers and 7 million deciduous trees, and sowing of 38 tonnes of seeds. Spruces and pines, which can be planted in full sunlight and grow quite quickly, were widely used. Under the forest canopy, preference was given to firs.
This tree population consists of trees of very different diameters, ages and heights. Species are mixed: mainly pine, but also beech, rowan and whitebeam. This is an irregular mature forest, a forestry dynamic that is interesting for several reasons: it creates permanent forest cover; resistance to soil erosion; better resilience against storms or parasite attacks; regular production, etc. In the small clearing to the left of the path, the sunlight now penetrating to the forest floor has made natural regeneration of beech and fir possible, ensuring the renewal of the forest.
The village of L’Espérou
The village of L’Espérou lies on the border of Dourbies and Valleraugue local councils. A draille (track for livestock to migrate to summer pastures with their shepherds) crosses the village. As in many villages in the Gard, the two places of worship – one Catholic, the other Protestant – are opposite each other. The village is located in a varied environment that is suitable for outdoor activities and sports.
Mountain-bike route #3. From the Mont Aigoual car parks, head towards L'Espérou for the whole length of the route, via the crossroads La Source, Le Pontet, La Baraquette, La Sapinière, Balcons de l’Aigoual-car park, Prat Peyrot-Station, Le Fangas, Col de La Serreyrède, Le Trévezel, Serre de Favatel, Col de l'Espérou, Montlau, and finally L'Espérou - La Halle.
Before setting off on a trail, check that it is suitable for your activity and level of ability. Mountain-bikers must wear helmets; protective gear is recommended. Respect other trail users and stay in control of your speed and trajectory. Be careful in winter: strong winds can cause snowdrifts. Keep an eye on the forecast: violent storms and sudden floods can be dangerous. For your safety, do not venture into hunting areas – hunts in progress are indicated by signs (“Chasse en cours” or “Battue en cours”). Respect property, livestock and other users of the area. Biking off-road is prohibited.
Tourism & national parc'house
Col de la Serreyrède, 30570 Val d'Aigoual
04 67 82 64 67
The Maison de l'Aigoual houses the tourism office Mont Aigoual Causses Cévennes and the Maison du Parc national. This visitor centre provides information on and raises awareness of the Cévennes National Park, its sites and events as well as the rules that must be observed in the National Park's central zone.
On site: changing exhibitions, video projections, Festival Nature events and shop Open year-round
D40 or D42 to Le Vigan, then CCC8 to L’Espérou
Access and parking
Head towards Mont Aigoual on the D 896 from L'Espérou. At the Col de La Serreyrède pass, take the D 269 then the D 18, Prat Peyrot; then the D 118 to Mont Aigoual
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