The valley was named after it. Coming from the high valleys of Aure and Louron whose names it bears, it definitely takes the name of Neste at the exit of the valley of Aure. Neste means river, like the mountain streams in the neighbouring valleys. A mountain river, that crosses many villages before bending its course at the foot of the Lannemezan Plateau and turning towards the East and the Garonne in which it flows to Montréjeau.
It still keeps the traces of the old industries: Marble and wood rafting, former factory and handicraft centre of Rebouc, mills and gravel pits and feeds the Neste Canal. Magnificent river for fishing (Lortet’s No Kill course), it is also a sensitive natural environment and weakened by human activities.
The main river in the Baronnies valley, which originates at the foot of the Bassia massif at the Gourgue d’Asque (Oueil de l’Arros) and in the Ariguette stream. It is a very preserved river in the upstream part with a very rich and particular fauna and flora (Pyrenean desman, otter, lichens, etc.). The Gourgue d’Asque in the first kilometers downstream from the source is the most emblematic of the environments. All around in the neighbouring valleys the streams/ creeks of the Ayguette (at Esparros), the Avezaquet (at Avezac)… converge towards this river.
The Neste Canal
The Neste Canal dates from 1863 at the initiative of Napoleon III, it aims to supply artificially the rivers of the Lannemezan Plateau towards the Gers and Gascony such as the Save, the Louge, the Gers or the Baïse.
With a length of 28.6 km, its water intake is at Sarrancolin-Beyrède and its flow rate of 14 m3/s. A major element of the Neste system, it is at the heart of a dynamic water distribution.The very abundant water in the mountains is stored in the headwaters and high mountain dams and then redistributed to the plains and moors of Gascony via the canal and its deflectors. This water is used for agriculture and irrigation but also for drinking water consumption in the Gers. It is managed by the development company of the Coteaux de Gascogne.
Careful: the edges of the canal are forbidden to pedestrian, equestrian, cycling and motorized traffic.
The Lannemezan Plateau network
The Neste Canal supplies an important network of canals and rivers from the Lannemezan Plateau.