A few facts and figures, then the photos. La Charente is the fifth longest river in France. The Seine, the Loire, the Garonne and the Rhone are longer.
It flows through four departments- Haut Vienne, Charente, then Vienne, before re -entering Charente and finally ending up passing through Charente Maritime.
Only 12 kilometers of it are not in Poitou-Charentes and that is the first 12 from its source in Cheronnac down to Lake Lavaud.
It was described by Francoise 1st as ‘the most beautiful river in all of France’
I have a bit of a problem with where the water comes from at the source of the Charente. I expected it to be a natural spring. However when we arrived at the site we found, for want of a better word, a pond, with large stones around the edge. From this ‘pond’ there was a dried up channel leading down to a little wooden bridge, underneath which there was some stagnant water. I photographed the ‘pond’ and the bridge. We then went around the block and back to the source of the Charente -that which I am calling the pond.
When we arrived there was a man there with a van and a water bowser. He was busy doing something just a few meters up from the pond. When we got back from our walk around the block he was just driving off. The water bowser was still there and it was wet underneath it, but it was not connected to anything. There was now water flowing into the pond from underneath one of the surrounding stones. It was flowing quite steadily almost as if it was from a pipe or tap? I have photographed it so that you can see. Very quickly the pond began to overflow and run down the little channel towards the bridge.
So was the man and the water bowser something to do with the water starting to flow?
Is the whole of the river Charente dependent on a man turning up every afternoon with a bowser of water?
Update: I have recently obtained a copy of the magazine Living Poitou Charentes, the Aug/Sept edition, in which there is an article about the Charente river and on page 31 they say ‘ Source of the Charente Don’t get to excited; a few meters away in a modest public garden a gentle trickle emerges from a garden style brass tap beneath a large granite slab, before heading off down the hillside.’
So had I looked under the stone surround I would no doubt have discovered the tap.
The question now is whether the Charente supplied with water from a tap or a bowser or maybe both?