Thursday 3 November 2011

Four à Chaux

The detailed IGN map of the area indicates "le Four à Chaux Ruines" wedged between the road to Paulhan and Adissan soon after they fork near where electricity pylons cross. Four à Chaux is a lime kiln. Limestone would have been heated in an oven to produce lime principally for use as a building material. Lime mortar is still the material of choice today for renovating old stone house walls. According to the document "Guide d'interprétation des paysages viticoles : exemple de 50 communes en Coeur d'Hérault - décembre 2005" from Observatoire viticole there are seven Four à Chaux remains in the 50 communes surveyed. Along with Aspiran are one in Cabrières and Fontès plus four from Caux - all virtually neighbours. Given that Caux is Occitan for Chaux then such popularity is perhaps appropriate.

There are indeed ruins at the Aspiran site. The above was taken at the spot indicated on the IGN map and is the only "ruin" in the vicinity, although little remains to indicate it was a kiln beyond piles and ridges of white stones. 100m to the north is more convincing evidence, a pit dug in limestone and reaching well into the current water table. These two features are indicated by the paddle markers on the Google map above.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Rain, floods and river levels

Two days of rain in the last week of October, the first of any real significance since March, is a reminder that the Hérault floods and will be of special concern to those around the Aspiran Gare sector. This link plots real-time levels for the Hérault at Aspiran. The home page displays river flood warnings for the whole of France - click on the map to zoom into the Languedoc.

The weir on the Hérault at Aspiran Gare