The choice of route for November’s walk reflected the fact that autumn in Normandy can often be wet. Starting at the Yeti bowling and ice rink in Coutances, we followed the gentle contours of La Soulles river valley as we headed towards our destination, the ruined bridge at Pont de la Roque. Despite starting grey and slightly coldish, the morning brightened and, with the temperature rising, jackets and raincoats were carried rather than worn. The well constructed path proved fit for purpose, being solid and dry underfoot, even though the surrounding fields held a great deal of surface water. As we strolled by old river mill buildings, now redundant and silent, the many cows and horses happily ignored us and continued grazing. The path also seems popular with both leisure and more sporting runners, and we saw some of the more serious runners again as they returned apace to Coutances.
Eventually the path emerged onto the road near Pont de la Roque and very shortly we had arrived at the stone bridge.
We spent several minutes inspecting the three adjoining, destroyed arches and reading the commemorative plaques to the Allied servicemen who lost their lives when the bridge was bombed and then captured in the months of June and July 1944. The stone bridge dates from 1852 apparently replacing a wooden structure which existed before. A “Bailey” bridge was erected at the end of July 1944 and the current modern road bridge inaugurated in 1967.
We rounded off a sociable morning at La Taverne du Parvis, opposite the cathedral in Coutances, where members unable to attend the walk joined us for lunch.
Write up of the visit and photos courtesy of members.