D8/rue de l'Igue le Bourg, 46330 Crégols.
|Classification:||Sentier Karstique Subaquatic Spring Doline Karst|
L=6 km, VR=200 m, D=2-3 h.
L’Igue de Crégols: L=80 m, W=65 m, VR=35 m.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Delphine Jaconelli (2021):
Sentiers Karstiques: Des Nouvelles du Réseau et un Label National!,
SpéléOc, la revue des spéléologues d’Occitanie, n°155, pp 16-17.
Delphine Jaconelli (2021): Le Sentier Karstique de Crégols Dans le Lot, SpéléOc, la revue des spéléologues d’Occitanie, n°156, pp 14-17. online
|Address:||Sentier karstique de Crégols, Jean-Luc Zinszner, President of the Lot Departmental Speleology Committee. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|MAR-2021||karst trail opened to the public.|
Sentier karstique de Crégols (Crégols Karst Trail) is located on the Causse de Limogne or Causse de Crégols on the southern bank of the Lot river. The karst area drains underground towards the Lot, and reappears in the resurgence of Crégols. This karst spring is stop number 1 on the karst trail, which starts at the Place du village of Crégols, a hamlet with 79 inhabitants and a church built on top of a limestone rock. There is an information sign on the junction of the rue de l'Igue le Bourg and the D4. The trail is located within the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, which is an UNESCO World GeoPark. The karst trail was created by the Occitanie Regional Speleology Committee and the Quercy Regional Natural Park.
Its actually not possible to reach the Résurgence de Crégols, as it is a subfluvial karst spring, in other words it is underwater in the bed of the River Lot. In front of the village is a channel, where a part of the river water is redirected to a now abandoned mill downstream. Cross the channel opposite the starting sign, then keep left. The Lot river is separated into two branches by an island, the spring is in the branch on this side of the island, about 200 m downstream from the dam. It originates under a limestone wall, so it is actually not in the middle of the river, it's at the southern side. The cave behind the spring was explored by cave divers for some distance, but so far no air filled cave was discovered.
The trail follows the rue de l'Igue le Bourg through the hamlet to the cemetery, then turn right to the top of the hill, which offers a nice view over the Lot. The trail follows the ridge to the south, the crosses the upper end of the valle to the other side. Here is the Igue de Crégols and a ruined medieval village, then the trail returns down into the dry valley and to the starting point. The trail is classified as easy, but actually there are a few rather steep section. Nevertheless, it should be possible even for people with no experience, it requires only basic physical fitness and surefootedness. There is a booklet available in A5 format of about thirty pages and easily transportable, sold for € 2 at several tourist attraction in the area. The trail is marked with yellow marks and "Sentier karstique". The Lot Tourist Office offers free walks with a nature guide at certain dates, check their website for more info.
The most spectacular stop on the karst trail is the L’Igue de Crégols, a huge collapse doline with vertical walls. With a length of 80 m and a depth of about 40 m it is not tiankeng-sized, but still it is quite impressive. There is a trail around the doline at the rim and at the lowest point of the rim in the north there is also a trail leading into the doline. The floor is protected from stroms and sun, is more humid than the surroundings, and so there is more soil, and it is overgrown by bushes and trees, while the surrounding karst is almost bare, with little soil and vegetation.
Right at the beginning is a sight which is only marginally a result of the karstification. Phosphates filling a karstic crack were mined during the 19th century in the phosphatière. It was abandoned early in the 20th century. The next stop is a small cave called Grottes du Cimetière (Cemetry caves), names os because it is located above the cemetery. Then there are numerous ruins which are remains of people who once lived on the bare karst. This includes buildings, cisterns, and there is even a reconstruction of an ancient farm. The human use of a bare karst in a semi-arid area and the use of karst features like dolines and dry valleys for farming are an important topic of the trail. Along the trail there are numerous karren fields, in French they are called lapies, limestone pavements, and strange rock formations.