Official website of Nendaz Tourism
Grand Bisse de Vex
Grand Bisse de Vex
Constructed in the XVth century, and 12 km long, this bisse takes us as far as Veysonnaz, then to the Mayens-de-Sion.
Water intake altitude 1,500 m, at Planchouet in the river Printse.
Length 12 km
Date of construction 1453
The canal runs along the lower edge of the spruce forest and waters the high-altitude chalets before running deeper into the woods for several kilometres. It then crosses dry grasslands above the village of Clèbes before traversing Veysonnaz and the Mayens-de-Sion to end up irrigating the crops and the meadows of the Commune de Vex.
At Planchouet one can see the birth of the bisse with the water intake from the river and the concrete basin which serves as sand-remover. All along the course, wooden channels and footbridges bear witness to the works necessary to the passage of the water.
The bisse was constructed in 1453. At that time, Nendaz was a possession of the Duke of Savoy. The people of Vex lodged a petition in order to obtain the authorization to construct a canal starting from the Printse. An agreement was signed between them and the people of the Majorie de Nendaz under certain conditions. One of them was that the people of Vex, instead of those of Nendaz, should deliver a beam of larch annually to the town of Sion for the upkeep of the bridge over the Rhône at Champsec. Original documents dating from 1453 and 1476 are deposited in the archives of the two communes.
With the decline of agriculture, the use of the water rights diminished. The will to use the bisse for touristic purposes appeared already in 1931. The Société de Développement des Mayens-de-Sion made a request to the consortage for the maintenance of water in the canal until the 20th September of each year. The bisse was abandoned in 1971 but, thanks to the initiative committee for the reconstruction of the great Bisse de Vex coming from Nendaz, one can again enjoy this hiking route with water along the whole length of the course.
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