Our next stop en-route to Albi was at Champagnac La Riviere in Limousin and while checking in the motorhome the site owner was keen to promote The Voie Verte cycle route close to the camp site. I must confess I am not a great fan of cycle tracks but he assured us it was all tarmac so OK for a road bike. He was so enthusiastic and against my better judgement I felt compelled to give it a try, I also thought he might subsequently ask what I thought of it and it might be easier to ride it than try an avoid meeting him.
The track is 13 km long and runs along the old railway line between Chalus and Oradour Sur Vayres. Unlike a lot of these paths it has been constructed wide enough take a quad wheelchair bike allowing disabled access to the route.
The old station at Chalus is now a visitor centre and hire centre for cycles including 2 and 4 seat side by side electric assist bikes and children bikes.
Located at each end of the route are WC’s and picnic tables are situated along the track at regular intervals. One of the old stations at …… has been turned into a full restaurant that was enjoying good lunch time trade as we passed
At each point the track intersects a road crossing there are wooden “baffles” to negotiate and a reminder of bygone years when every junction had a crossing gate cottage, most have now been renovated but try to keep the beautiful gardens that reflected the railway workers time spent between gate closing duties.
i was surprised to see how many people were using the track and we passed a group of schoolchildren who could not have been more than 6 or 7 years old with guardians front and rear and caught up with them again on our return, they were enjoying an outdoor lesson at one of the picnic areas
As mentioned earlier I am not a great cycle path fan but was pleasantly surprised, this scheme had been well thought out to for the benefit of the widest cycling audience and more importantly it seemed to be managed and maintained to a good standard. Very often when once built these tracks are forgotten and have no ongoing maintenance budget but given the facilities and scenery this one will be a winner.
Find out more at http://www.voieverte-enlimousin.com