By bike on the Green Line from Châtellerault
Nature escape, Children love it, Living History
The old railway line between Châtellerault and Loudun, transformed into a cycle and hiking path, offers a playground and discovery ideal for bike lovers. In quiet and safe mode, saddle up with Émilie, Antoine and their children Lily and Roméo! They guide us on this journey by bike, a true immersion in rich nature and in the history of the railways of the beginning of the century, through territories offering architectural nuggets.
The rail revolution
The old railway has been transformed into a cycle path and is closed to all motorized vehicles. Since 2017, the green Line was renamed in the name of the local child: Sylvain Chavanel. This cyclist from Châtelleraud has shone with his bike at the national level with no less than 17 Tours de France.
No need to be a cycling champion to set off on this walk!
On the contrary, the flat and paved ground, at least up to Lencloître, does not require pressing too hard on the pedals. It is even advisable to take your time to let yourself be seduced by the surrounding nature. Between fields and valleys, the history of the railway invites us to go back in time to the era of the rail revolution.
A breakthrough in the Poitevin terroir
136 years separate its inauguration, in September 1886, and our journey by bicycle. Each landscape crossed is the witness of the past of the line which allowed until 1980, date of the last convoy of goods by the rails, the development of these territories by the commercial exchanges of the products of the soil:
• Monts-sur-Guesnes with wood
• The cloister for market garden products
• Berthegon and wine...
After adjusting the saddles and inflating the tires at Chatellerault, starting point of the line, we are ready. As the kilometers go by, information panels, installed along the old track, gradually reveal this history and provide information on natural heritage that surround us. The goat orchid, blood dogwood, lantana viburnum or even sycamore maple, will have no more secrets for Lily and Romeo.
A plant tunnel
The crossing of the wood of Châgnerottes after Besse, is done by a plant tunnel. A real pleasure in this sunny weather! When leaving, caution is required. You have to cross the departmental 725 to reach the old Scorbé-Clairvaux station. Back on the track, a gap in the vegetation reveals the impressive tower of the Haut-Clairvaux Castle of XIth century, fortified by Richard Coeur de Lion.
At each intersection between the roads and the Green Line, stops will be required for safety reasons. The opportunity to observe at these intersections small buildings that were once barrier guard houses.
In the age of steam locomotives
It is not uncommon, at the sight of an old road sign or a train station that seems frozen in time, that our mind escapes to the era of steam locomotives. Life swarmed along the tracks between travelers anxious to embark and merchants who had come to do business. We are even surprised to hear the regular tchou-tchou of the train… No, it's only the noise of the cars a little further on.
We take the time to make a short stop and put our bikes down to regain strength. We still have half of the route to go. Some signs invite us to leave the line to visit the surrounding tourist sites. The Château de Scorbé-Clairvaux and the Halle aux grains, the convent complex of Lencloître or even the castle of Monts-sur-Guesnes, Which provides an interactive journey through time. An enticing program, we promise to come back!
Coupes du monde
After Lencloître, the route takes us to Berthegon by a long straight line sometimes wooded offering some surprises. For example, the view of the sublime XNUMXth century Château de La Plaineth century of Savigny-sous-Faye planted on a hillside.
The arrival at theold train station Monts-sur-Guesnes, particularly well preserved, reveals impressive silos. These silos bear witness to the grain trade that developed here in the 30s. This arrival also tells us that we are almost at the end of our journey.
At the sight of the small car park at La Roche-Rigault, terminus of the green line, the children start a final sprint with a bang, as if the 37 km had no hold on them. We are happy to have "traveled" in time and nature as cut off from the world!
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