Going underground



World famous for its spectacular natural beauty and centuries old heritage, there is a flipside to the Dordogne Valley. For thrill-seekers and adrenalin junkies it is underground. Water filtering through the limestone floor has created a huge number of caves and chasms throughout the area, some of which are still being discovered today. The extensive cave systems, with tens of kilometres of galleries cutting through limestone rock cater to all levels. Families and first-time cavers canjoin in the fun. For the experienced or true believer, there is rope-dangling, abseiling, climbing and squeezing thrills to be had. Professional guides take beginners and pros through dry or partially submerged caves.

Caves and chasms are dotted throughout the Dordogne Valley and several companies take thrill-seekers down under.



The Dordogne Valley is famed as one of the top three cave diving destinations in the world. This extreme sport combines two thrilling activities in one. It’s adrenalin junkie heaven. With depths of up to 80 metres, divers in full scuba gear can explore the kilometres of submerged cave systems. The crisp and clear water with great visibility has made diving here internationally recognised. The passages are not too tight and dives can last several hours. The start points are accessible and easily reached. The extreme dives require a level 2 minimum diving certificate.




For the uninitiated, canyoning is all about throwing yourself into, abseiling and swimming down a fast moving stream. Preferably the most vertical one possible. Here, the outstanding canyoning in the Chal Gorges will create lasting memories long after the adrenalin rush fades. Enjoying amazing scenery otherwise inaccessible, participants will experience the raw power of nature as they slide down natural waterslides, jump into rock pools and abseil through waterfalls down the fast moving rivers. Trained professionals will guide and instruct debutants with all canyoning gear provided for a safe and action-packed experiencewww.compagnie-sports-nature.com/en/



From the Italian, a Via Ferrata (‘iron path’) is a cross between rock climbing and hiking. An iron cable is fixed to the rock face and harnesses clipped onto this wire allow participants to move across it. Essentially it’s rock climbing for amateurs, with all the thrills of high altitude but with much greater safety and accessibility to all. In the Dordogne Valley there are two main sites for this activity. The Via Ferrata in Argentat, right above the Dordogne river and the Via Ferrata of Marqueyssac where climbers can dangle in safety as they cross 200 metres of sheer cliff face. www.escapadenatureargentat.com