|Access: Signposted from the nearest village - Le Pouget. As long as you don't mind driving carefully on a dirt road that gets a little rough at times, the walk is less than 100 metres across the corner of a field and along a good path. Otherwise a walk of around 1km, probably a little more, from Le Pouget.
We went here on the way to the Dolmen de Coste-Rouge. It's easily accessible from junction 57 on the A75 motorway, or (as we did) from the N109 from Montpellier. From the N109, take the D32 at Gignac - south towards Canet. It's just under 7km, after passing a village called Pouzols you need to keep an eye out for a small left (east) to Le Pouget.
If you miss it, you'll come to a smallish roundabout, which you can go to Le Pouget from, but it'll take you all round the town (we know - we did it!) If you're coming from the A75 motorway, go through Canet, and when you reach the little roundabout head for Gignac for a very short distance and find the turning east (right).
So, from the little turning to Le Pouget, head east just into the village, but as soon as you reach it, keep an eye out for dolmen signs and a tiny very narrow and tight right turn uphill squeezed between buildings. Go up this road which climbs and passes out of the village. As you reach the last few buildings look out for a (I think) handmade sign for the dolmen down a dirt road on your right.
Take the dirt road. There are a few spots where you'll need to drive very carefully, but we managed in a family car. Wouldn't fancy it in a low-slung sporty-job though!!! Go right to the end of the road and park.
At the end of the road you'll find a large stone on each side (the left one is very menhirlike and has 'dolmen' written on it). In front of you is a field with a tree under which is a little stone bench. To the right of this is a path out of the field, and the dolmen in its mound is only about 25 metres along this and you can't miss it....
Visited Wednesday 5 September
Nice passage! We arrived at the site to find, to our surprise, a group of four French pensioners having a coffeebreak from a hike. They kindly moved off the monument so that we could have a good poke about and take pictures.
The passage grave sits in a largeish mound and has been nicely restored. The passage and chamber are around 12 metres long, dry-stone walled, except for the chamber's entrance stone, back slab and the capstones. The entrance stone to the chamber has a beautiful 'kennel-hole' (or catflap as we tend to call them...) and the exposed passage is elegantly long and narrow.
Interestingly, the dry-stone walling of the chamber is kind of corbelled, narrowing at the top. It was fascinating to see later in the trip, that this seems to be an echo of the hypogées in the Arles-Fontvieille Group, such as the Grotte de la Source - especially as the Arles-Fontvieille Group is thought to be so compact because the builders 'moved on' rather than spreading.
According to the guide at the Dolmen de Coste-Rouge, the entrance hole was "created by the archaeologists". I'm not sure how she knows this though, as she admitted that most of her info on 'her' dolmen comes from Bruno Marc's Dolmens et Menhirs en Languedoc et Roussilion. He says de Gallard is restored, but is not so specific - I suspect she was just trying to 'big-up' Coste-Rouge as the only 'genuine' kennel-hole.... (We were later to discover another, even more catflapish one in the Oise valley, way oop north!)
Great views of the surrounding area, particularly over the area to the north, but we didn't get a chance to see how visible the tomb is from below. A lovely spot where we stayed for long enough for Jane to sketch. The "sweet biddies" were still there when we left - so they obviously liked it!
Posted by Moth
20th September 2007ce
Edited 20th September 2007ce