Pont Noir

Live Life in Creuse

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Walking to Saint Fiel
by Dave • Thu 21 May 2020 17:26
A couple of years ago when visiting the Glenic Donkey Fête in 2018 I discovered that you could walk over a new footbridge installed next to the viaduct and then up onto the railway line and continue on for about three kilometres to the next village of Saint Fiel. I mentioned at the time that we’d go back and walk the footpath, which we did late last year.

The route is pretty easy going with only a few gentle inclines (except if you choose to go down under the Viaduct du Glane in the middle of the walk where you need to remember that you have to walk back up all those steps). The track is mostly large granite stone chips left over from the railway line, but there is a short amount of dirt track and a muddy footpath up through the fields to reach the church at Saint Fiel. I’d allow 90 minutes each way to take it easy and enjoy the sights and sounds but it’ll depend on your pace and interest in what you find along the route.

Park up at the free car park next to the viaduct at Glenic.

Start Location on Google Maps

Cross over the footbridge (check out the article about the Donkey Fête via the link above to see photos) and then follow the path to the viaduct across the small field and the road and then up to the main railway path. Go in the opposite direction of the viaduct – don’t worry you can walk over it on the way back. This is the hardest climb on route.
Walk along the track for about 500m - the birdsong was lovely when we were there. You then leave the railway line for a bit going down to the dusty track on the right and continuing on - don’t go under the railway line.

After about 500m you’ll come to a T junction where you need to go left – this will take you back to the railway line in about 250m where you go up onto the line. After a little over 500m you’ll reach another viaduct across a hidden valley.
The views over the countryside are superb.
Look out for the blue dragonfly art on one of the stone pillars.
After the viaduct on your left you will find a set of rickety old wooden steps.
Here you can take a short detour to see the remains of an old mill under the viaduct. The steps are pretty bad, with some missing and others weak, rotten and loose. It’s a potentially dangerous decent but doable if you are cautious rather than choosing to revive your infamous Jackie Chan homage and throw yourself down with a Kungfu flick a flight at a time because I think that even the great JC himself might decide to take it a step at a time holding the rail where it still exists.

When you reach the floor there are several short paths to the left and right allowing you to see and explore the old workings and see how the river Naute has been re-routed and channelled between the viaduct legs. The viaduct is also pretty impressive.
Take a few moments to enjoy the strange beauty of it all before hauling yourself back up. If you, like us, decided to go in the morning and have lunch at the Auberge du Saint Fiel (which I recommend you do) then here is where you earn your pudding.

You can now continue along the railway for about another 350m you should be able to see the church and château on your right and maybe if you are lucky a big snail will be ambling across the path.
You need to take the path on your right up around the edge of a large field towards the graveyard. As you reach the top you turn back towards the church, cross over a small stream using a makeshift bridge of planks. You’ll soon then arrive at the car park next to the church at Saint Fiel.

Finish Location on Google Maps

The church is worth a visit although you need to fetch the key from someone (I forget who because someone already got it when we visited, but they will know in the Auberge) – there are some very old frescos to enjoy in the cool.

If you’re dining, tuck into your grub before looking around the village. Otherwise enjoy your own arrangements before heading back to Glenic. You can go via several routes but actually I’d recommend just going back the way that you came.

Once you get almost to Glenic instead of going down to the road and crossing over the river on the footbridge you can carry on and go over the viaduct. This gives you a great view of the river Creuse.
You can completely cross the river and main road and loop around back down and under the viaduct before crossing to the car park where you started.

I’d also recommend a quick visit to the old town on the cliff above the viaduct. There is a footpath up but it is jolly hard work and you can just drive and park at the top if you prefer and enjoy the tremendous view all the same. There isn’t much else to do or see up there but it’s a nice spot to sit and look for a bit.
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Aug 2004
Re: Walking to Saint Fiel
by Daviddiavel • Fri 22 May 2020 12:08
that looks like a lovely walk, thanks for posting it.
When I can return to France will certainly do it.
Jan 2018
Re: Walking to Saint Fiel
by Creusebear • Sun 24 May 2020 16:18
Same here! We pass Glenic on the way to Gueret and have been to a sizeable brocante there a couple of summers ago but never for the donkey fair. That walk looks lovely!
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May 2007
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