Les Enclos Secrets
“Les Enclos Secrets” Before and After Refurbishing
We bought this property in 2019 unexpectedly after a really crush and more than thirty properties’ visits in the Périgord Noir and in the Lot.
It had been unoccupied, at least full-time, for several decades and was stuck in the past, with only a running water supply and an old electricity meter, but without any comfort or even a sewage system.
It consists of 5 plots enclosed by dry stonewalls whose condition in many places still reflects their antiquity.
♠ The entrance plot which allows the vehicles to park and in which we have planted a small orchard (still young) and where the former owners remember hearing about a vineyard, a long time ago.
♠ The plot including the buildings constituting the former typical Caussenarde farm property, namely:
∗ Une barn which has been transformed into a house in order to receive you, we hope, in the best conditions of contemporary comfort, but which external walls were not modify in order to not denature the spirit of the place. The keystone of the arch of its upper entrance portal indicates its year of construction, 1883.
∗ A residential house whose origins possibly predate those of the barn has a souillarde1, a cantou2, a fournil3 and its bread oven. The traditional framework with coyau4 (like that of the soue) reinforces its regional character.
∗ A soue5 which also housed the hen house which had to be deeply restored (reassembly of the gables and total roofing) because it was in danger of ruin when we arrived. Note that the soue has a small enclosure in front of its entrance serving as a course for the pigs.
♠ The double plot adjoining the old house, most likely used as a vegetable garden.
♠ La parcelle la plus vaste à usage de pré que nous prêtons à la ferme voisine, vous aurez peut-être l’occasion, selon les périodes, d’y découvrir les chèvres ou les chevrettes de Lucie, les brebis et agneaux caussenards6 typiques de Sébastien ou encore le cheval et le poney inséparables de leur fille.
♠ The most stretched plot, a more or less narrow grove of about 250m long that runs along a large plot behind the property and which we have arranged as a shady walk. This is where the bowling green and a variety of flora and fauna can be found.
The water resource being a precious asset in this environment that is the regional natural park of the Causses du Quercy (Unesco World Geopark), is added to those buildings:
♥ Three " underground stone cisterns" of almost 10 m3 each.
∴ One at the car park level, formerly fed by run-off from the access road before modern roadworks.
∴ One in the kitchen garden, fed by water collected in the gutters of the house.
∴ One in the upstairs ramp of the old barn and fed by run-off rain from the barn roof.
♥ An open cistern that can be locally referred to as the "Lake of Saint-Namphaise7" located behind the barn.
In conclusion, this old farmhouse contains all the architectural and heritage elements characteristic of the Causses du Quercy, and it is, to our taste, ideally located in a peaceful setting without being isolated, it is for all these reasons that we succumbed.
We will be delighted and will have fully succeeded in our project if, by chance, the magic of the place also works on you.
The decision to name the place "Les Enclos Secrets" was then born from the combination of the regional specificity of the layout of the different plots and their quiet and secluded, even confidential, location.
1 Souillarde: a space for preparing meals with a sink stone built into the living room and thus forming a shed on the outside wall.
2 Cantou: it is the hearth in the double sense of the term, the hearth fire and the heart of family life.
3 Fournil : Local de préparation du pain attenant au four et séparé le plus souvent de l’habitation pour des raisons de sécurité incendie.
4 Coyau : A structural piece set into the lower part of a rafter and extending it over the projection of the entablature to channel rainwater away from the masonry; it may be straight or cow-tail. The core has the effect of smoothing the slope of the roof slope at the eaves.
5 Soue: Stable for the pig(s).
6 Caussenard sheep: Very old breed, very rustic, perfectly adapted to the dry and rocky Causse. Very sober and very resistant to heat, it also has a great quality: it is a good walker thanks to its long and solid legs. Better known as the "spectacled sheep" because of the black spots around its eyes, its black ears and the small spot at the corner of its lips.
7 Lac de Saint-Namphaise: Despite their name, these “lakes” are small. These are pools carved out of large, compact, uncracked limestone slabs. The territory of the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park has several hundred.