In the French “massif central”, between Clermont-Ferrand and the summits of the Haut-Languedoc, there is much evidence of ancient volcanic activity. While still ancient, the most recent volcanic activity took place in the the Ardèche Mountains, now a Regional Nature Park. This park, created in 2001, extends roughly from the market town of Les Vans in the south to St Agrève in the north. In 2014, the area was granted UNESCO Geopark status recognizing the remarkable landscapes and sites of geological interest resulting from volcanic activity. Geologists have determined that some of this volcanic activite may have been as recent as 10 000 years ago so it is common to see this area referred to as the “young” volcanos of the Ardèche.
The Geopark is magnificently suited to wandering, walking and long distance hiking with many marked trails providing access to well known sites (such as Mount Gerbier de Jonc – the source of the Loire River) and to less well-known ones throughout the area.
To make these sites of geological interest more accessible to hikers, French publisher Glénat has just released an excellent trail guide covering 5 major areas of geological interest :
- the Mezenc-Gerbier Area
- the Eyrieux valley
- the “young volcano” area straddling the upper Ardeche river valley
- the Cévenne valleys and
- the Atlantic / Mediterranean drainage divide
The book is a collective work of several authors writing about the hikes zith others writing about the Geopark and natural history of the area. I have rarely seen a better presented hiking guide and highly recommend it to anyone planning to walk in the area.
References : Publisher : Glénat (Grenoble)
ISBN : 978-2-344-02646-5
Published : January 2019