Tuesday, 28 October 2008


The main road (and I use that term very loosely!) that passes our village wends and bends its way down the mountain passes from St Gervais-Sur-Mare to Hérépian.

The garrigue reaches right to the roadside and is a fascinating mixture of scrub, wild herbs, flowering bushes as well as stunted holme oaks and gorse.

We have watched in curiosity this week as a team of eight workman have been clearing the garrigue either side of the road past La Sesquière.

Using a chain cutting little bobcat they have cut swaithes into the scrub, sometimes on almost vertical slopes, whilst following on behind with hand-held chainsaws. Each tree/bush is cleared around and up their trunks to about three feet off the ground.
It is a feat similar to painting the Forth Road Bridge - never ending! Such massive amounts of manpower, working continually for months on end!

What was happening?! Why?!

If in doubt, we ask our friend and neighbour Robert.....

..... and now we know.

It is on the instruction of the Conceil General. Land must now be cleared to a distance of 18 metres either side of the road to protect against incendrie. People chucking lighted cigarettes out of vehicle windows and causing hectares of fires.

Robert owns much land around here, some along the roadside. It seems he received a letter from the CG telling him what would be happening, and giving him a month to clear any wood/timber off his land before the team of workmen would move in.

Being conscientious and not wishing to lose all his oak, he set aside a week to go to work.

Except that the workmen arrived within a couple of days of his letter - and cleared his land!

They did carefully cut any substantial oak tree offcuts into usable lengths and left them neatly stacked.

OK, thought Robert. I will forgive them and take my tractor up there this afternoon to pick the logs up.

Except that a voleur got there first, within an hour of the workmen leaving for lunch, and swiped the lot!!

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