From the Groseau Valley to the Gypières trail

11 au 31 Jul 2020

Place: Malaucène ( Vaucluse)

Participants: Adults

Workcamp description:

Under the watchful eye of Mont Ventoux with all its legends and a heritage restoration expert, you’ll rebuild dry stone walls that line the “Gypières” trail. The locals call these retaining walls restanques. They were built to farm steeply sloping land, by clearing stones to build terraces and fields. The trail has seen better days and is becoming overgrown in places while the walls are crumbling or hidden by vegetation.

In August, another workcamp will be run in Malaucène, at the Pavillon Rose du Colombier, or “Pink Pavilion”.

Workcamp programme:

  • Clear undergrowth and sort building stone
  • Strip back rubble to expose wall foundations
  • Build dry stone walls

Building technique: Dry stone masonry

Added extra: The workcamp is located on the edge of a forest, so shade from the trees will bring a welcome breath of fresh air in contrast to the summer heat.

Accommodation:  In tents in a campsite, just 30 minutes’ walk from the workcamp. You can bring your own tent.

Workcamp life: 

Help out, in turn, with daily tasks (cooking, cleaning). Building work in the mornings, Mon-Fri. Free time in afternoons and weekends, with a choice of group excursions and activities.

Some ideas for excursions: Bathing in the Ouvèze and Toulourenc rivers, walking on Mont Ventoux and in the Dentelles de Montmirail hills, visits to the ancient towns of Vaison la Romaine and Orange.

A bit of history:

The Groseau Valley and, more precisely, the spring of the same name, has been an iconic site for Malaucène for thousands of years. In fact, traces of settlements in this valley have been found to date back more than 5,500 years. There is a later, Celtic-Ligurian inscription, near the spring which refers to the divinity of the “Grosellos”. A convent was also built on the site in the 7th century and served as a residence for the Pope Clément V. From the 15th century, the source of the Groseau was channelled to power flour and oil mills and then a paper plant in 1557, which employed 500 people. Geological deposits around the site were also mined. Gypsum was quarried from 1920 to 1955 and there are relics from the buildings and ovens from the old plaster works. 

Now, the whole site around the Groseau is undergoing a vast renovation programme. The area around the chapel (listed in 1853) and the spring, plaster works and paper mills are central to a tourism development project for the Groseau Valley, with the creation of a walking trail from the village.