Shepherd's Huts of Pian'di Selva in Arghjusta Muricciu
The Rehabilitation of the Sheepfolds of Pian'di Selva in the Highlands of Arghjusta
In response to an urgent need from the shepherds of the Sartène school, who were in search of summer pastures for their flock of sheep, and in line with the wishes of the Arghjusta Muricciu municipal council and its mayor Paul-Joseph Caïtucoli to revitalize the agro-pastoral life of the commune, an impressive feat was accomplished in just 3 months: the construction of a sheepfold complete with a laboratory, living quarters, and a milking area in a zone inaccessible by car, all equipped with electricity and running water.
To achieve this and to enable young shepherds to spend several months in self-sufficiency in the mountains with their animals, the following steps were taken:
- Airlifting a prefabricated cheese-making laboratory
- Building a wooden dwelling to provide a minimum level of comfort
- The milking area was also constructed from wood to facilitate the daily collection of sheep's milk
- As for water, it is sourced from a spring below and pumped up by a solar-powered lift pump, a technique inspired by the Basque Country, which the mayor adopted
- Electricity is provided by generators
- Gas cylinders are used to heat the water and milk
A daring yet assured initiative, which earned a feature on France 3 Corse Via Stella in early July, as well as an article in Corse Matin.
Solar Lift Pump
You will cross the Ciambaldu and Ostia streams through a mountain that is sometimes clear and at other times more densely vegetated with ferns, for about forty minutes. Before reaching the sheepfolds, you will not miss the water intake with its solar panel that allows the lift pump to bring the water up to a reservoir located above the sheepfold. The water is treated and fit for consumption, ensuring total self-sufficiency and depending solely on the sun. A flow point allows you to refill your bottles.
It is on the site of the old Pian'di Selva sheepfolds, whose buildings are under restoration, that Antoine Lanfranchi and his colleague Marie-Blanche Santoni, young shepherds and managing operators, along with Gaëtan and Nell, two agricultural school students in BTS at the Sartène school, have been able to graze some 120 sheep that are situated in the highlands of the village for the summer pastures.
Every day, milking is done mechanically to collect the precious milk, which is then transported to the laboratory for immediate cheese production.
Two Possible Departures from Arghjusta Muricciu
The hike begins by ascending the road above the town hall and requires you to bring along water supplies, head covering, and sturdy walking shoes.
More Information at the Town Hall
For further information, do not hesitate to make direct contact with the town hall, which will be delighted to inform you about this trail that they have traversed numerous times—providing shepherds with food supplies along the way and occasionally spending the night on-site before descending.
The Sunset from the Sheepfolds
Overlooking the entire valley down to the sea, you can admire the sunset from the sheepfolds, which bathes the granite rocks in hues of orange of rare beauty.
The rocks sometimes form small caves with arches that harken back to the volcanic origins of the granite.