Discover the Valais’ fascinating irrigation system (bisses)

Botyre (Ayent) route

With the Botyre (Ayent) route you can enjoy a marvellous hike from Sion to Anzère and discover the brand-new Musée Valaisan des Bisses at Botyre (Ayent) along the way. Specially signposted paths.

Get to know Valais’ irrigation channels on walks that take you to three impressive channels (bisses) and then go round the Musée valaisan des bisses to find out all there is to know about these amazing centuries-old constructions. You can take a postbus to one of three trail starting points depending on how far you want to hike. Good, clearly signposted paths make for problem-free walking

Itinerary 1
Anzère Cableway postbus stop

Route Bisse de Sion-Bisse d’Ayent-Bitailla-Saxonne-Botyre, 13 km, 3 hrs 30 mins.

This route starts at Anzère (Cableway postbus stop) and follows the Sion Channel built in the early 20th century to bring water from the Liène to the Sionne and irrigate Sion’s vines. After 1.5 km, you leave the Sion Channel and join the Ayent Channel which runs 150 m lower down. This channel, built in the mid-15th century to irrigate the hillside at Ayent, is one of Valais’ most famous bisse, transporting up to 400 litres of water per second over a distance of 18 km. Follow the channel as far as the Torrent-Croix tunnel to discover the spectacular old gallery attached to the rock face. The old channels were abandoned in 1831, when the tunnel was built, and restored in 1991. Keep following the channel which flows towards the Arbaz summer pastures. The route continues on itinerary 2.

Itinerary 2
Anzère (Ayent Channel) postbus stop

Route: Bisse d’Ayent-Bitailla-Saxonne-Botyre, 5 ½ km, 2 hrs 20 mins.

From the postbus stop, head for the Ayent Channel, 20 metres below. From there, you can follow it as far as the Torrent-Croix channels and back (roughly 1 hour round trip). Continue following the Ayent Channel downstream ,watching out for the sluices used to distribute the water for grassland irrigation. At the Arbaz summer pastures, the Ayent Channel intersects with the Bitailla (a contraction of bisse tailla) alongside which the walk continues, merging into itinerary 3.

Itinerary 3
Arbaz Café du Lac-Bitailla postbus stop

Route: Bitailla-Saxonne-Botyre, 3 ½ km, 1hrs 10 mins.

From the postbus stop, follow the route beside the lake for 5  minutes till you come to the Ayent Channel-Bitailla intersection.  It is not known when this junction was built but it already existed in the early 14th century. The route takes you past several flow distributors and sluices which share the Bitailla’s water among the various villages of the region. Jeuriés is home to an ingenious system for distributing the waters of the Ayent and Bitailla Channels which is 500 years old and still in working order. The path leading to the museum follows a side-channel , passing the pleasant village of Saxonne with its typical old dwellings.

Price

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Timetable information

View timetable online

Reservations

Reservation mandatory for groups on almost all routes.
For information call tel. +41 58 341 24 00

Travel dates/Validity

Route open all year
Travel-date details/validity: view timetable/timetable information

Bicycle transport

Limited number of bicycle transport fixtures in/on the vehicle

Special comments:
Bicycle transport is available from 15 May to 15 October. Reservations are recommended Tel. +41 58 341 24 00.

Wheelchair accessibility

No guarantee of wheelchair access to the postbus

Special comments:
Not all vehicles are wheelchair-accessible. For information call tel. +41 58 341 24 00.