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Report - - Castel Vendon, Normandy, France, July 2017 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Castel Vendon, Normandy, France, July 2017


Iamnotacrook

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I'm currently working out in Normandy and whilst planning a climbing trip, I came across a report on Subterranea Brittanica by a user named Nick Catford with a visit date of November 2004 - check it out, there's some great background and pics: link. Given that the site was so close to where we were headed for a climb, we decided to have a look around.

Unfortunately we were pressed for time, so this report is fairly short, but I hope it will be useful for anyone else who hears about the site and would like to attempt to explore in more depth.

The basic premise was that this was a bunch of tunnels leading to abandoned silos and potentially a military installation, based near Hameau Gruchy, Normandy, and certainly photos from the previous report that I have linked looked promising. Whilst there are still signs marking the site as a military site, I noticed absolutely zero military presence, although was aware that it was now being used as grazing land for livestock.

The main thing that ate into our time was finding first and entrance to the correct fields, and secondly finding the tunnel entrance, so I have mapped these as best I can on Google maps in the below images. I suggest parking at the car park for the Maison natale Jean-François Millet (clearly signposted in Hameau Gruchy) and walking down the country lane to a small track (big enough to get a tractor through) leads down to a metal gate. To get to the tunnel entrance, hop the metal gate, stick to the right, and duck under the barbed wire. Do not make the mistake that we did, trying to follow a poorly drawn map further into the fields. Instead my poorly drawn maps show the parking spot and the rough route to the entrance.

dWm2WBw.jpg

KKax32m.jpg


The blue line above is our rough route, the X is the entrance to the tunnel pictured below, and the arrow... well I'll get to that.


Following the blue line will take you past a couple of abandoned buildings that do not in any way lead to the tunnels, give them a miss and save the hassle, unless you want to crawl through a bunch of muck and likely shit for no reason.

wbXAAPP.jpg


Instead head back towards the road until you can find a place to climb the hill opposite, and you should get to the entrance pictured below.

lAqnRKX.jpg


RQqPAsM.jpg


Now unfortunately, this is mostly where my adventure ended. The metal barricade is impassable, and it also warns that you would be disturbing a protected wildlife site (bats have taken up residence in the cave). This is also where my own personal photos end, but I'd like to continue further to offer a potential method of access for people that are particularly interested in visiting (again, if you check out that subbrit link, there's some interesting history).

If you go back to the google maps picture and check out the arrow, you can see one of the silos that make up part of the site. We didn't press on too far as we didn't want to disturb the livestock gathering around it, and also because we'd wasted too much time in looking for the tunnel entrance. Here's an image of one of the silos (potentially the same one, I couldn't say as there are 3 in the surrounding area) from subbrit/Nick Catford:

castel_vendon16.jpg

It's certainly connected to the tunnel system and could warrant further investigation as a way in due to the tunnel entrance now being blocked. Having our climbing gear with us, we did discuss abseiling in, but having not brought any ascenders and being low on time we wrote this idea off.

I'd certainly love to add to this report, and should I get another chance, I'll definitely be checking it out, but my contract is due to finish here in a couple of weeks, so I can't guarantee that will happen. If anyone wants to discuss in more detail hit me up.
 

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