Enjoy a walking holiday exploring France
Dates: June 10, July 1, July 15, August 5, Sept 2, Sept 23
Walking Guide: John Waddington
Our guided walking holidays in France explore the border country between the Departments of Charente and Dordogne in France. This is wonderful country for a comfortable walking holiday and Château L’Age Baston is an ideal base for it. Your resident walking guide John Waddington will take you on the white roads, forest paths and empty country lanes of an undiscovered and still largely unspoilt part of France.
Walking holidays run from Saturday to Saturday and include:
- 7 night full board stay at the château in your own room
- 6 guided morning walks with 1 optional all day walk
- wine with lunch and dinner
- transfers from/to the local station/airports (see our travel page)
- local excursions and afternoon visits (see our other things to do page)
Delightful walking holidays in France & Château stay
This is easy walking; sometimes a bit rough underfoot but nearly all on paths. No climb more than 200 metres in a day. You can do the routes in good walking shoes and lightweight gear but bring walking boots if you are used to them. For a July or August walking holiday we may decide to start fairly early or to plan for two shorter walks because of the heat.
Our walks are mostly done in the morning. Every day after breakfast you will head out with your walking guide John for a 2 ½ -3 hrs walk (8-12 kms) and come back in time for lunch. The afternoons are free for you to take a swim, explore the gardens or join John on an afternoon out exploring the other many local things to do.
Walk in the clean air of the Charente
We plan for two all day walks during the week (14-20 kms). On the all-day walks you will get either a picnic delivery from L’Age Baston, a lovely packed lunch or a generous three-course meal in a local café en route. On the half-day walks you come back to a glorious lunch at Château L’Age Baston. The idea is for you to enjoy the countryside, take some exercise and to work up an appetite rather than to explore the ultimate limits of your endurance.
The luxury of a guided walk is that you don’t concern yourself with any of the decisions normally involved in setting off into unknown (even if gentle and friendly) country. No decisions about where to go and how to get there. No need for maps and no chance of missing things or getting lost. All you have to do is relax and watch the countryside unroll as you walk in the clean air of the Charente.
It is lush, rolling, limestone country where rivers disappear, shady forests beckon and caves demand your attention. The old buildings are of mellow limestone with roman tiles and roofs with the kind of gentle slope you start to find south of the Loire.
Natutre & Wildlife
There is forest and farmland, springs and streams and lots of flowers and wildlife. We have seen deer, wild-boar, badgers, pine-martins, shrikes, Golden Orioles and even Little Bustards – but we make no promises. Download your Free local bird list pdf
Your Walking Guide
Your resident walking guide John Waddington has lived, worked and walked in the region for over twenty years. John is interested in lots of things and happy to share his knowledge of the Charente and the delights and quirks of the region. Passionate about nature, history and the environment, he is fascinated by how we interact with the landscape to make our world.
He enjoys good conversation almost as much as he appreciates good wine and walking is a great way to exchange ideas and tell the story. On the other hand, he also knows that there are times in the woods and fields when you just need to listen to the nightingales or look at the horizon over the sunflowers. He can wax quite lyrical, if pushed, about the nature of our relationship with nature but mostly he’d rather just go walking in it.
The idea is to for you to enjoy the countryside and maybe set small bits of the world to rights walking in rural France. With a huge range of walks up his sleeve, let John guide you through your walking holiday, making expert use of the paths that criss-cross the country, some of them thousands of years old.
Our walking holidays do make good use of the French national and local footpaths. Of the “Grandes Randonnées”, GR 36 and GR 4 are just a short step away from L’Age Baston. You could follow GR36 from the Normandy Coast to the Spanish border if you wanted, or GR4 from Royan in the west to Grasse in Provence. We don’t actually go that far. Most of the routes used are clearly way-marked and you will find No.40 in the “Series Verte” by “Cartes I.G.N.” a good basic map of the area. Large scale maps are available at L’Age Baston. The House is marked “L’Age Baston” and is just south-west of La Rochefoucauld and most of the walks take place within 20kms. Come and see for yourself.
Sites visited on our favourite walks include
- Les Sources de la Touvre – a beautiful, magical place and the second biggest resurgence in France
- Les Pradelles – the pre-historic cave now becoming one of the most cited research caves in Europe
- The singular Templar Church at Yvrac et Malleyrand
- The beautiful and, at times, mysterious Fôret de la Braconne