We are surrounded by beautiful countryside and there are any number of lovely routes – perfect for a short stroll or a full days hike for a serious walker. One of my favourites is the route around the Moulin du Saut which stands on the very pretty Alzou River.
The walk is a loop of approx 5 kilometres and is an easy route of approx 2 hours. There are some climbs but nothing too taxing and I would say that the walk is suitable for anyone of reasonable mobility but I would recommend at least a pair of trainers.
The original Mill dates back to the thirteenth or fourteenth century when it was built by permission of the Lord of Gramat. By the sixteenth century the mill was in ruins but was rebuilt between 1736 and 1739 by Raymond de Fouilhac, Baron de Gramat. According to contemporary reports, it consisted of four pairs of grinding wheels driven by the waters of Alzou channeled via three conduits. After the French Revolution the mill changed hands several times until World War I. In 1924 the Mill was purchased by an industrialist from Périgueux who transformed it into a power plant with a modest output but in 1925 the building was heavily damaged by a fire.
The Mill is now owned by the nearby town of Gramat and is cared for by an Association – The Friends of the Saut and the Alzou Valley, which ensures the upkeep, maintenance and preservation of the ruins and the remarkable natural habitat. In an area officially recognised for the quality and sensitivity of its environment and its natural beauty the Mill has been made safe and is now a lovely walk through a beautiful landscape. There is no “mill” as such to visit although the ruins are interesting, this walk is all about the scenery.
The route is very easy to follow with a set of printed instructions but there are also guided visits and animations throughout the summer – 05 65 53 40 00 for details.
Who is this attraction suitable for ?
Anyone of reasonable mobility can enjoy this route – there are some gentle climbs but nothing too taxing. I would recommend you wear at least trainers – open toe sandals or similar would not be practical.
Make a day of it:
Depending on the time of year and the ages of your party I would leave two – two and a half hours for your visit – longer if you want to take a picnic with you.
The walk is between the towns of Rocamadour and Gramat so you could easily combine with a trip to either town. You could also combine with a visit to the Moulin de Cougnaguet, a working fortified mill dating back to 1292. If you have children with you you might like to make a detour to La Ferme Borie D’Imbert – a goat farm and producer of the traditional Rocamadour cheese. The visit is free and the children can see the goats and other animals and watch how the cheese is produced. Word of warning – if you visit in the summer there is a definite “goaty” smell. There is a small shop on site where you can buy the cheeses and other local products.