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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A visit to an old Phosphate Mine

A couple of weeks ago some 20 members of our local rambling group, Les Chemins Verts, went on a day out to visit an old disused Phosphate Mine, the Phosphatières du Cloup d'Aural near Bach, about 20kms from Cahors in the Lot, France.

A number of crevices where the mining used to take place until around the turn of the 20th century are now covered with vegetation, including a variety of species of fern. Our guide took us down into caverns where one can view the remains of prehistoric animals and the walk around the thematic park was most enjoyable and instructional. There are panels illustrating the region's prehistory and the current flora and fauna of the area - a great educational experience for young and old.

There is a good picnic area at the Phosphatières, but it being autumn we had arranged to have lunch at the local auberge in Bach. After a lovely traditional meal it was time to do some more walking! Bach is known locally as an area of wells - we came across one called the puit anglais and a couple of large Roman wells on the outskirts of the village. The walk took us to an unusual lavoir (washing place) locally referred to as the lavoir papillon because of the way the washing stones had been installed.

What a lovely day out in the crisp autumn weather! If you visit this part of the Lot a day out to the Phosphatières du Cloup d'Aural and a stroll around the village of Bach is highly recommended.

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