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Located between Villers-sur-mer and Blonville-sur-mer, lth swamp of 110 hectares consists of wet meadows, canals and ditches is of great ecological wealth. Despite its proximity to the sea, it is a freshwater marsh fed by runoff from four natural watersheds located on the hillsides that border it.

© Ph. J. Thieser
© Pixabay

The marsh is a man-made space. Before the Middle Ages, this place was a vast reedbed of fresh water protected from the sea by a cordon of dunes. Then the men dug canals to drain the land. The plots thus demarcated were used for market gardening, for growing cereals and especially for grazing. This human occupation has created an environment of great ecological wealth. Today, this space is classified as a Natural Area of ​​Faunistic and Floristic Interest.
Sensitive natural space, partially protected (around 150 hectares) by the Coastal Conservatory, the marsh has diverse flora and fauna. In its meadows grow hygrophilous plants (supporting prolonged flooding), such as phragmites, rushes and sedges. This environment provides shelter, food and "rest area" to more than XNUMX species of birds, permanent residents or passing through to their breeding place (in spring) or wintering (in autumn). Rather in the morning or at the end of the day, it is possible to observe and / or hear them. The tops of poplars have been specially designed to allow storks to settle and nest. There are also nationally protected species of amphibians and reptiles.

InDeauville nature tours and walks

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Since 1975 on the Villers-sur-mer side, a stretch of water equipped with playgrounds, benches, pétanque courts and a bicycle rental service, and almost 5 km of trails welcome walkers and riders.

A marsh that lives in all seasons

Grazing and mowing
The diversity of the marsh resides in the agricultural practices that take place there. The pasture allows, by the passage of cows, to keep low vegetation levels favorable to the many birds. When walking in wetlands, cattle open the ground with their hooves and dig up insects that can be eaten by birds. Likewise, dung is a delicacy for other insects. In winter, the cows return to the barn. The marsh is often flooded and the grass no longer grows. The cows nevertheless continue to feed on the swamp grass thanks to the hay harvested in the summer. Mowing is done from July to allow birds to nest.

The 3 functions of a wetland
- hydrological> Wetlands contribute to the improvement of water quality: they have a purifying power, playing the role of physical filter (they encourage sediment deposits including the trapping of toxic elements such as metals heavy, suspended matter ...) and biological. They also regulate hydrological regimes: like sponges, they temporarily "absorb" excess rainwater to gradually restore it, during periods of drought, in the natural environment (rivers and rivers located downstream). They thus reduce the intensity of floods and support the flow rates of rivers during periods of low water.
- organic> Wetlands constitute a fabulous reservoir of biodiversity, offering animal and plant species the essential functions for the life of organisms: food (concentration of nutrients); reproduction thanks to the varied food resources and the diversity of habitats; the function of refuge and rest especially for fish and birds.
- climatic> Wetlands participate in the regulation of microclimates: precipitation and atmospheric temperature can be influenced locally by the phenomena of intense evaporation of water through the land and vegetation that characterize wetlands.

Sources: Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

The Paléospace offers sensory tours to discover the marsh, nature outings and birdwatching walks Find out more about the Paléospace here

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