There was a lot of information provided on signboards along this walk, so I considered splitting it into two blogs for 2 reasons. Firstly, because a single blog might be too long and secondly, our slow internet connection can't cope with too many photos! However, I decided that it would spoil the story, so here it is, all in one post. Hopefully it will be of special interest to my French readers, as the signs are understandably French! I am going to ask Nigel to do a little translation here so my English followers can get the gist of the story.
We started walking from Massignac, which I have written about Here , Here and Here. On a lovely sunny and calm day, we arrived at a southern point of the artificial lake named Lac de Mas-Chaban.
Footbridge sited to assist ramblers on walks around the lake
Where you are welcomed to the start of the "Path of the Cow's Meadow" following the story of la Vache (the cow), in particular, the Limousine breed. The signs are designed as a source of learning, particularly, for the many parties of children who are brought here on school trips.
Sign 1 reads "Good day, I am the beautiful Limousine. Not those which come out of car factories!" and more description extolling the virtues of the breed! The yellow line on the little map marks the pathway of 3,5 km around this part of the lake.
" In times past, my ancestors returned to numerous heavy tasks around the farm" The breed was praised as light, docile, speedy and powerful and over time was selectively bred from the best examples, as cross-breeding was found to be unsuccessful.
"In 1770, there was a meat shortage in Paris and the authorities asked the local offices if they could count on the Limousines to provision the capital after Easter"
"Bocage means countryside where the fields and meadows are surrounded by trees and hedges." This arrangement provided an essential component in the raising of these cattle.
The gravel pathway winds its way around the perimeter of the lake.
A board about the setting down of genealogical principles for breeding Limousine cattle in the "Herd Book", written in the penultimate decade of the 19th century.
The younger cattle are fed on mother's milk and grass, then slaughtered for veal at around 8-10 months.
Others are weaned and fattened with cereals and sold at around 10-15 months. The meat is young but already mature and tasty.
The male cattle (Limousin - with no "e") are fattened and slaughtered at about 18 months to provide very high quality meat, renowned in the butchery industry.
A board about regulation of the industry and establishment of benchmark labelling for high quality meat production.
We stopped to watch a grey heron fly overhead.
A little game for the childrens' entertainment on the lines of the Rubik cube, where they must correctly match the fore and hind parts of four different breeds of cow farmed locally, with their middles.
The cow as a subject in various forms of human endeavour, literature, poetry, strip cartoons, cinema, song and advertising being listed here.
Small plaques showing Apis, an Egyptian god with a cow's head, cows featured in 17,000 year old Dordogne rock paintings and lastly a Greek scene with a mature Limousin bull.
Nearly back to where we started!
Returning to Massignac and features (above and below) outside a local shop.
Many small villages have such helpful map boards to inform walkers and ramblers of suggested routes, of varying lengths, in the area.
Sorry about the long delay in posts on the above but I will endeavour to keep it up to date more often!