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Restoration of the Bédélat du Cassaïre

  /  Restoration of the Bédélat du Cassaïre
Restoration of the Bédélat du Cassaïre

Situated at an altitude of 1600 meters in the commune of Mandailles-Saint-Julien and the GR400® route, the Bédélat du Cassaïre, an important part of the pastoral heritage, was in need of major restoration.

The building was probably built in the 18th century. The purpose of a “bédélat” or “védélat” (both spellings exist) was to shelter sick calves and animals.

The Bédélat du Cassaïre also has a buron nearby.

Project

The fairly large bédélat – 11 metres long and 4.5 metres wide – was intended not only as a shelter for the calves but also for the entire herd in bad weather. The cowherd, due to the absence of a chimney within the construction, had to occupy the buron located about 50 metres away.

It is a single-storey construction, half-buried in a fold in the ground. The building consists of a single large room topped by a two-sloped roof in lauze, overhung by a ridge of cut stone with a barrel vault. The walls, which vary in width from 1 metre to 1.60 metres, are made of trachyandesite. The door on the east façade had disappeared, it gave onto an outside park called afrontadou.

Due to its size and heritage importance, this construction needed to be restored in order to offer as many people as possible an enlightened view of the life of the cowherds before. The Syndicat Mixte du Puy Mary thus decided in 2017 to propose the restoration of the bédélat as part of the Mission Bern. Retained in 2018, the project was thus able to benefit from funds from the heritage lottery set up by the Mission Bern Heritage Foundation and the State.

The restoration work began in June 2020, when 12 tonnes of equipment was brought to the site by helicopter from the Col de Légal. Throughout the summer of 2020, the companies, David Bonis for the masonry and Guillaume Lafon for the roof, worked to restore the building supervised by Germain Brunet, an architect from Aurillac, while the door was built by Gaël Séverac. The work was carried out in accordance with the construction techniques used when the bédélat was created. Similarly, only the building stones still present on the site were used, thus reducing the use of new materials to a minimum.

The work, which was completed in September 2020, has thus made it possible to safeguard an endangered heritage and restore the building to its original state.

Educational work that had begun with a visit to the site by the Lascelle school will now be put in place to provide visitors with information on the history of the Bédélat du Cassaïre and its past use. It will now be able, as it did in the past with the calves, to protect hikers of the GR400® during bad weather.

The state of progress

Completed project

100%

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