Category Archives: France 2017

Green lanes in France : part 2 — The Dordogne gets narrow

On day one off-roading we came across a 110 defender and a couple of  fat Toyotas with roof tents  having a bit  lunch in a farmers field, they where most helpfull and allowed me to copy there entire portfolio of tracks.

This included a route from a different magazine and it started back in Beynac, we have no Tripmeter except an App on the phone but there where more waypoints than the other routes to ensure we are on the correct route, Now then, being a bit of a geek and having the odd gadget I had with me Oziexplorer on the laptop and a GARMIN GLO Bluetooth gps, these had all worked happily together at home and the day before, but after typing in all the waypoints and arriving at a very crowded car park in Beynac, then watched idiot French Tourists jam themselves and a tour bus and a canoe bus into a tight end spot of the car park for 20 minutes I fired up the setup confident my ace navigator would have a easy time to find that the GPS would not talk to the laptop Milly sat quiet and watched a nerd take deep breaths and finally give up we went blind into the Northern land of the river Dordogne, we found the first turning but the French are cunning, since the route was published they had installed Dead end signs and this did throw us off for a while , …… after 3 trips around a very nice little village, the track where nice and easy with great views, it took a bit to learn what the author had drawn but we got the hang of it until we tuned out onto a main road by a small memorial.

Range rover camper extreme at war memorial dordogne
Emerging from the Forest.

we drove up and down the road and we where sure we had the correct trip reading Milly was sure that the tiny track on the left surely couldn’t be it, but she was wrong .

it was a tight twisty track up above the valley and into an amazing forest we emerged right in front of a abandoned chateau with its overgrown church pearing from the undergrowth from here on the track got better/worse depending who you talk to.

For some reason Milly would not camp here ??
For some reason Milly would not camp here ??

it was getting late and I decide we could camp here…. that was my decision  Milly’s was slightly different and very vocal, so we headed out and found Chateau Cammarque.


Something escaped from the ruins !!!
Something escaped from the ruins !!! ( I’ll get some grief for posting this picture)

I have found this website simple and clear on what to see in France.


Chatteau Cammarque, nice quiet place
A castle with added Troglodyte

Here we camped in the grounds and I pointed out that when you camp IN the forest you can see who is watching, but when you camp in a small open field edged with dark woods then the ghouls are watching from the dark shadows, it didn’t go down too well.  .

here is the route we took from this article.    Download full pdf scan  and   you will need a password for the .zip try here thanks to the Allmakes centre for sponsoring this.

routes for green laning in France

and ZIP file with Oziexplorer route and waypoints  HERE    Just to make your life easier.


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Green lanes in France : part 1

An Englishman in France with a Range Rover P38 and map…

So I sit here with this view,

the river view from Lalinde wild camping
The Office window for today  :     Lalinde Pontours ,Dordogne


and I decided to share the tracks we are doing in France, when organizing the trip it was hard to find information, most information was old and the links on the forums where dead, so I decided I would post them on my blog so that unlike facebook and the other gready corporations that suck content for there own profit I will control my content… ( deep breath calm down dear).

The 4×4 mags in France have produced some great routes for all to enjoy and I managed to keep a few and find a few here and there, the tracks are all legal and they take you on a fantastic drive around rural France popping in and out of the tourist parts but mainly avoiding the traffic.

They are suitable for just about any 4×4 although expect some scratches, there is nothing challenging for any of the bikers who may use them  but you would sure have nice ride with great views and lovely picnic spots.

Here are some of the images from around the Dordogne area of Beynac and Domme .

Pistes du Dordogne green lanes of France (5) Pistes du Dordogne green lanes of France (1) Pistes du Dordogne green lanes of France (2) Pistes du Dordogne green lanes of France (3)

Range rover camper green laning on tracks in the France
Rocks with grooves from the old horse and carts


For others to follow here is a plot of a nice route , Start in Tremolat and finishes in Beynac a very pretty town on the bank of the river although full of plastic motorhomes and family full cars.

Tremolat to Beynac route image

Google earth KML file and Oziexplorer PLT file in a ZIP.

dordogne route from beynac tracks greenlane 4×4 moto


The Rando books from the 4×4 mags can be downloaded from  these links.(later)


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When SWMBO is sunbathing and your are bored…..

The idle mind ponders, and it seams fitting to not ponder techy stuff ( although I still do)

now having relaxed a lot and with some great off road tracks driven I have begun to notice the wildlife again.

This morning at breakfast we were joined by a little brown vole who popped up looked over the tall grass for tasty treats then bounding to the next vantage point like a flowing ribbon fluttering in the breeze.

While at the castle in Jumilhac , we looked upon its dreamy spires and roofs  the sun had started to sink into the tree line, darkness crept upon us, the shapes took on another look and it wasn’t hard to imagine being here in medieval times . It was at this point we heard a screech and then a large owl flew past , silent in flight and sinister in appearance this was the gentle side of the darkness , next we had two large bats fly from the round tower and swash and swoop by us silently vanishing into the dark woodland at the edge of our campsite. leaving us to think of stories and tales we knew would unsettle our sleep.

Tor the inquisitive among my readers ( both of you) which is the quietest in flight an owl or a bat ?

In the morning sunshine I thought what other weird and wonderful delights they must breed in the castle dungeons and as I enjoyed the smell of the fresh lavender I noticed a wee beastie hovering above the flower gorging itself on the fresh nectar.

black bumble bee in central france
I have never seen a black bumble bee with bright blue wings..

Another day another amazing view.

after a few more days we are now beside the river again with a lovely Chateau across the river looking like some James Bond villians lair, we await the helicopters and gunmen to arrive, I noticed on the floor these seed posd, they come from the tree beside me, the leaves expand into a kind of pyramid shape and contain the seeds , when they fall from the tree they blow in the wind ,roll along the floor and spread their seeds, I post this for Mother to identify the make and model of the tree for I am sure she will expertly put me right.


tree with leaves that fall as pyramids and blow in the wind
I must be bored. please find some Geek stuff to help this feeling pass
pyramid seed posd Dordogne
pyramid seed pods that come from a tree in the middle of France

SWMBO : a geek term for ‘She who must be obeyed’  — i.e. the wife {pron : Swimbow}

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Another red hot day ( actually the first hot day) and another medieval town.

The town of Sarlat is very pretty, it lacks any big chateau or castle but must have the highest concentration of restaurants per Sq km in the western hemisphere all geared to tourists, Milly tasted some very rich cheeses and then tasted a very rich price, 27€ for a small lump, now she says she is not wasting it on me  and I am stuck with Oreos.


Sarlat , a gem of a view at every turn
Sarlat , a gem of a view at every turn
village of Sarlat south of france
although some idiots still get to block the view

we are getting a bit village and Chateaue’d out now so off too the river to try some kayaking… maybe….

a few little detours down dirt tracks and a quick visit to the Templar knight town of Domme we found a great place to stop and enjoy the fruits of the 4×4 camper down a little lane then down a path that dropped steep on,to the beach we have sat and watched the tourists paddle by on the river gazing at our perfect little private campsite ….while we shelter from the torrential rain.. I mean burning sun..


dordogne camping in aoverland camper 4x4
perfect campsite for overland campers on the river
just the private spot near Domme and the templar nights castle for private camping
tucked away nice


I caught the local cave women  gathering  wood for the beach fire tonight and roast the wild hog ..

Milly doing her bit for my comfort
Milly doing her bit for my comfort
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A perfect French castle and a very pretty village.

The cosy Jumilhac castle is very original and geniune ,unlike the disneyfied Chenonceau Chateau, it was used by Richard the lion heart when he was passing through France on the crusades, later in life after a few destructive periods the owner decided to marry a pretty local girl, unfortunately she was in love with a local shepherd so when he was called to fight in the 30 year war he locked her up in a tower and everything she had was passed through a small hole in the door, to pass the time she spun wool and used the wool to pass messages through the window which happened to be the only opening window in the entire castle as the room was once the chapel.

sound familiar? Sleeping Beauty?

upon her husbands return he found out about the goings on and challenged the shepherd to a duel which he win and offered the shepherd a choice if death or becoming a monk, he became monk, after her husband died she married a wealthy person no one knows if it was the original love of her life.

sleeping beauty castle
This is the real castle sleeping beauty was imprisoned.


after the castle we went to visit one of France pretty villages


at jean de cole very tidy streets
Street after street of medieval charm without any if the medieval dirt.
st jean de cole
More old world charm around every corner


around here it is village after village of charming medieval elegance. after St Jean de Cole we made our way to stay the night in Excideuil with a great castle and it just so happened to be having a music festival called the HOOP.

hoop festival dordogne france 2017
The wine and beer flowed and the wine did its job 🙂

after one or two wines Milly felt a little worse for wear , must have been something she ate , even the 3 mile walk back to the campsite didn’t fix it and I was on Puke alert all night . the music was frwench indy pop rock…..rubbish 80’s type techno  but it was live and many interesting people from the dreadlocked hippies to a couple sat watching in the castle with their Monaco registered jag sat corralled off with tape.


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Three amazing places in one day.

The Chateau Chenonceau was very beautiful and had an amazing history ,skullduggery and underhanded scheming is nothing new to the banking institutions this chateau shows how if you make something beautiful the people with money will eventually steal it from you, including a few wars and monarchs death to help matters along.

range rover camper at chateau Chenonceau
Fantastic gardens at the Chenonceau chateau.


On our way down to the dordogne we had to visit the little village of Oradour-sur-Glane were every person including children were slaughtered by the nazi SS in 1944.


And it still goes on today!!
And it still goes on today!!


The things people do in war has shaped the world.I was amazed how popular this place was with tourists the car park was full and every side road was parked on.

After that sombre place we headed down a lovely road to the sleeping beauty cast at. at the front of the castle the nice man in the tourist office told us we could park next to the castle overnight on the grass, what a wonderful view to have a barby, and no express trains.


castle jumilhac range rover camper
Private camping just for Range Rovers
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Keep going south until the sun shines were the orders.

Even if its Morocco when the big black clouds disperse.
Luckily it was  at the Loire valley and this is our view tonight.

Beady in the Loire valley
Tonight’s view of Chenonceau castle

Sorry…. this is our view tonight, the chateau is tomorrow.

p38 in loire valley with train passing
Quiet night at the campsite

This is the car park next to the chateau.

There has been some very pretty awesome trains go past and we even had a huge bit of excitement when a goods train went past with two locos pulling it. Reminds me of the ISDE 100th anniversary race in Carlise when the camping was next to Carlise station.

the balloon ride over the chateau made up for the trains

p38 camper and hot air balloon range rover
balloon over chateau chenonceau
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