B&B in Creuse - Limousin (France)




To contact us

Chambres d'Hôtes
en Creuse



en Creuse


Click here to translate into english English translation

Site Map >

Walking in Creuse


    The Creuse is often compared with a green island, in the middle of France, that time seems to have forgotten
    Thus, it is a real paradise for the walker, whether a sportsman or a poet, an amateur of original landscape seeking virgin spaces or an experienced naturalist.

    To make you crave it, here are 3 walking tours that we often recommend to our guests: they are all accessible directly from L'Ecole Buissonniere. Their description, written by myself several years ago for the Tourist Office of the 3 Lakes'country tries to emphasize (in addition to guiding your steps !) places of interest you will come accross: history, toponymy, traditions, fauna and flora, view points... that should keep you busy for the weekend ! And if you wish to remain (and to walk !) longer, it would give us great pleasure to tell you about all our other favorite strolls (there are so many in a score of kilometers on the Creuse valley )

    Choose a tour on the map below and click on your choice to obtain the description:

    CESSAC WALK and le barrage de l'Age ( Age dam) - 1h30 (in black)
    To stretch your legs after the journey, as soon as you have dropped your luggage in your room.
    WALK of the MILLS - 2h30 (in red)
    To discover the nearby lake and to prepare the following days' activities: swimming, fishing, canoeing?
    FANAUD WALK -  2h30 (in pink)
    Go to buy the bread in the village, by following the river.



Randonnées à pied, à vtt et avec des ânes dans la Creuse 

Séjours à thèmes dans la Creuse : randonnées pédestres, vtt, avec des ânes 




Walking tours map

Carte des circuits de randonnées pédestres à La Celle Dunoise 

Return to Site Map

    and Age dam - 1h30 - Departure from L'Ecole Buissonniere

    1) The Cessac hamlet, and others in the surrounding area show very ancient inhabitation of the Creuse valley . Indeed, place names including the sound "ac" were generally occupied during the Gallo-Roman or Franque period. Mention of Cessac is found towards 1437: it would have been the property of a Gallo-Roman, Cissus.

    2) At the exit of Cessac, just before going down towards the Creuse river, stop a moment to admire, on your right side, this beautiful old stone cross dating, probably, from the XVIth century. The hamlet used to have a specific funerary custom: before the procession left to go to the village and the cemetery, people used to break the holy water bowl, which had been at the bedside of the deacesed, on the cross. This custom was preserved until the beginning of the XXth century. To continue the Cessac walk, it is necessary to leave the broad and pleasant path, and to take, on the right, the narrow sloping path which curves between the trees. (Note that if you stay on the left side track , you will join the Fanaud Walk, described further). While going down towards the river, you will notice some imposing rocks giving the landscape a "solemn" character, and sheltering in their anfractuosities capillary ferns and "Venus navels".

    3) After the wood, the path leads to a more open space. On the right, you will see a field of ferns, so homogeneous that it would appear to be cultivated. In fact, it is not surprising : ferns are plants which need very nitrogenized ground, this is why they are readily established on old land which is no longer cultivated but which was regularly manured over a long period.

    4) You will discover the river with a metal bridge downstream crossing the Creuse and, upstream, the Age dam. You are on the territory of many animals living close to the water. If you are quiet you will surely see the dipper or "water blackbird" whose characteristic is to go to the bed of the river, even in running water, to eat the watery larvae fixed on the bottom stones.

    5) The Age dam was brought into service in 1982. It is a spillway type work , with multiple vaults, a score of meters high. It is in the site that local people called "Gour Jonchère", right at the exit of the old and wild hemmed gorges where, formerly, the Creuse river ran as a tumultuous torrent and dug impressive pits (a "gour" means a deep hole in a river).
    While climbing the slope which leads to the top of the work, you will smell the fascinating odor of boxwood. The presence of this shrub is also a sign of the old Gallo-Roman inhabitation. Moreover, the boxwood feast, traditional in Cessac derives from these times.

    6) You are now overhang the Age reservoir the construction of which was followed by two other hydro-electric installations giving rise to the 3 Lakes' Country. In the path which continues to rise coming back to L'Ecole Buissonniere, you will find one of the best blackberries plots in the area, and if by chance, you are there in September to collect them, do so 1 meter high of the ground to avoid the urine that the fox deposits to mark its territory which can cause disease.

    7) On return to the plateau, you will find the bocage landscape with its meadows and fields intersected with dry stone walls or hedges. Both frequently shelter the weasel, the smallest of Europe's carnivores.

    Return to the walking tours map

    WALK of the MILLS - 2h30 - Departure  from L'Ecole Buissonniere

    1) The first village you pass is called L'Age, l'Ecole Buissonniere and the hydro-electric reservoir, are attached to this hamlet. This name is certainly one of the most widespread in the Creuse departement (46 examples !) and in the Middle Ages indicated a defensive fence.

    2) To join the lake you take a very beautiful wooded track, often bordered with dry stones evoking rural areas patiently built and, today, deserted. Indeed, you will find there, an example of what the archaeologists call "banks", which means careful stacking of stones which the peasant found in the middle of his land on the edge of the property. It had two purposes: to clean the ground of course, and to delimit the property, but also, in the sloping lands of the valley, to retain the ground by creating terraces.
    In the freshness of this beginning of the walk, you may hear, in spring, the characteristic whistle of the Europe's oriole which resembles a human one, or the wing flaps of the turtle-dove or the wood pigeon that you have caused to flee.

    3) You are now at the edge of the water, on the Age reservoir, in front of the beach of Le Bourg d'Hem. And you can now congratulate yourself on having choosen this walk, allowing you to enjoy this unusual view of this large meander that the river draws in a strategic place, at the confluence of the Creuse river and Combrand's brook. And up hill, on its spur, the bell-tower of Bourg d'Hem's church, just overlooking the trees will seem so far that you will understand how appropriate the name Creuse - from the Gallic
    Chroso, which means "hollow" really is.

    4) Very beautiful path following the banks of the lake to the bridge of Le Bourg d'Hem. Do not forget to admire, above you, the prowesses of the flight of the busards or the black kites, and try to recognize them. Note also, according to the seasons, the abundance of purple fox gloves, "germandrées" and other ground covering plants as well as the ground ivy or honey suckle. Also look for the beautiful pink gneiss rocks whose cavities could accommodate a genet in search of a home.

    5) Here is the Bourg d'Hem's bridge . Rest a moment while observing, on the emerging stones, the jumps and ceaseless play of the grey wagtail by the water fall of Guévigneau's old mill which formerly constituted a crossing point through the Creuse river to join the village of Le Vignaud.

    6) After coming back to the plateau, you will head towards "La Grande Chaume", perhaps the most isolated hamlet (there is only one house!) of the commune with, all around, very wild moor land. The "Saint Martin" hen-harriers enjoy sleeping here, that's why it is so quiet!

    7) This kind of path, bordering fields and woods is a perfect place to surprise the roe-deer which is common in our area. Note the presence of beautiful beeches on this part of the tour. So, how do you distinguish the beech's leaf from the hornbeam's one ? (2 "Table d'Hôtes" meals offered for the first correct answer sent by e-mail !)

    8) Now, you have to follow this broad and beautiful track to come back to the hamlet of "Les Chiers " In fact, the etymology of the word comes from "rock", a root-name we can find in several other communes of the Creuse. And indeed, you are in the highest hamlet of La Celle Dunoise, 367 meters high, precisely.

    Return to the walking tours map

    FANAUD WALK- 2h30 - Departure from L'Ecole Buissonniere

    1) The walk starts like the Cessac one but after having crossed the hamlet, remain on the very beautiful track which goes down towards the river, in this way you will reach La Celle Dunoise by the bottom of the valley. In this very beautiful timbered path, paradise for passerines (nuthaches and climbers) reign, as a Master, the sparrowhawk, birds of prey able to fly underwood to surprise its preys after amazing arabesques between the trees.

    2) You will pass a pretty small stone bridge overgrown with ivy and honey suckle and you will follow the brook of Chantadoux on your right.

    3) The elms are splendid trees which were decimated in France by a disease called the "graphiose"(dutch elm disease). In certain places, we don't know why, they resisted and survived. You will find a beautiful specimen of this tree in the confluence of the brook of Chantadoux and the Creuse river.

    4) At this place, begins the millcourse of an old mill , Fanaud, whose mill dam was carried away by a flood in 1937. The mill buildings are in ruins today, but they had a significant function because the mill was transformed into an electric plant and was used as a power station for 22 years, from 1911 to 1933. The Fanaud electric power station provided electricity to five of the largest communes of the sector: St Vaury, Bussière Dunoise, La Celle Dunoise, St Sulpice le Dunois and Dun le Palestel. Very close to the mill, there is a dwelling house of which only the stone staircase remains in the tangle of vegetation. The last person who lived there received the nickname of "La Fanaude".

    5) Before approaching the straight path which leads to La Celle Dunoise, the river draws a pronounced meander, crashing into a rock that form a bottleneck where the water bubbles iwhen it rises. It is the "boxwood ford" : at that place it was possible to cross the river, before the creation, in the Middle Ages, of the mill of La Celle Dunoise.

    6) If you are interested in fauna and flora, you will find one of the most picturesque paths with : oaks, alders, maples, limes, hornbeam for the trees; inulas with willow's leaves,
    lathrées clandestine and lysimaques for the plants; wrens, kingfishers and green woodpeckers for the birds. Without forgetting this mythical animal, the supreme symbol of preserved nature the otter. Of course, it's quite impossible to see it but notice that its presence can be detected by identification of its "épreinte"? (name given to the droppings which are made to mark its territory).

    7) You arrive in La Celle Dunoise borough, as soon as you pass along the old mill dam and the summer canoe-kayak base.

    8) After having had a look in the village (and bought the bread for which you came !) you will go up towards L'Ecole Buissonniere by taking the sunken lane, parallel with the road to Bussière Dunoise. Here is another place where the diversity of the fruitshrubs which border the path will surprise you (brambles, dogwoods, elder trees, holly, hazel trees) and knowing how much the birds are fond of their fruits, you will understand the presence of so many tits (blue, coal, with black head, with long tail, ...)

    9) You will pass not far from Le Poirier hamlet and will continue on another shaded path which will bring you back to the small valley of the Chantadoux brook. Do not miss, on the edge, this beautiful beech with a gray and smooth bark because they are rare in our sector, preferring higher altitude zones.

    10) After a beautiful common maple hedge, you will immediately find the brook of Chantadoux which draws, downstream to the bridge, splendid waterfalls in spring when the water is strong. It is here that you can hear, depending on the seasons, the beautiful nightingale song at dusk.

    11) At Le Cluzeau, you will leave the road to take the last path of this pretty pedestrian route which will bring you back close to L'Ecole Buissonniere, at the crossing of the road of Cessac.
    Cluzeau comes from clusellum (closed) and there are ten inhabited places in  the Creuse, with this name. The toponym often indicates underground. This path, sometimes vbecomes ery wet because of many sources, worth the trip in spring when buttercups, forgets-me-not, stellar and colombines are in flower.

Top of the page

Return to Site Map


Top of the page







L'Ecole Buissonnière - Chambres et tables d'hôtes - 23800 La Celle Dunoise - Tél : 05 55 89 23 49

Administration : Béatrice Quernec - ecolebuissonniere@netcourrier.com
Hébergement : AMEN - 75008 Paris - 0892 55 66 77