OBSERVING THE NATURE AT THE MARSHES OF BLONVILLE-VILLERS

The marshes of Blonville-Villers, situated between Villers-sur-mer and Blonville-sur-mer and including 110 hectares of wet grasslands, canals and ditches, are of great ecologic richness. Though being close to the sea, it is a fresh water marsh fed by the water courses coming from the surrounding hillsides.

© Ph. J. Thieser
© Pixabay

The marshes were developed by humans. Before the Middle Ages, this place was a large fresh water reed bed protected from the sea by a bar of dunes. Then, humans dug canals to drain the lands. The delimitated parcels were used to grow fruit, vegetables and cereals, but mainly for grazing. An ecologically rich area developed. Nowadays, this area is classified as “Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Faunistique et Floristique”.

Over forty species of birds may be seen in the marshes. These birds, either they permanently live here or are just passing by before reaching their reproduction (in Spring) or overwintering (in Autumn) site, like this place that is full of shelters and food. Early in the morning or at the end of the day, you can observe and/or ear them. The poplar trees’ tops have been adjusted to allow storks to settle and nest. You can also find some nationally protected species of amphibians.
The specificity of the marshes, a shelter for protected plants in Normandy, such as the Myriophyllum verticillatum or the Alopecurus bulbosus, lies in the presence of aquatic species and riverbank species.

Visits and strolls in the inDeauville nature

The agenda here

DISCOVER THE FAUNA AND THE FLORA OF THE MARSHES


The area situated close to Villers-sur-mer has been provided with playgrounds, benches, petanque grounds and a bike renting service. Moreover, some paths stretching over about 5 km welcome strollers and riders.

THE MARSHES ARE ALIVE IN EVERY SEASON

Grazing and cutting
The diversity of the marshes lies on the farming practices. Cow grazing is a means to maintain a low vegetation favouring several birds. Cows, walking on humid areas, break the soil with their hoofs and extract insects that can be eaten by birds. Cowpats are eaten by other insects. In winter, cows go back to the barn. The marshes are often inundated and there’s no more grass. But they keep eating the grass of the marshes,since hay is gathered and stored in summer. Cutting is made from July on to help birds nest.

The 3 functions of a humid area
- Hydrologic > > Humid areas contribute to improving the quality of water: they have purifying properties, as if they were a physical and biological filter (they favour the deposit of sediments trapping toxic elements like heavy metals, suspended matters…). They also regulate the hydrological regimes: like sponges, they momentarily “absorb” surplus rainwater to progressively return it to the natural areas (rivers located downstream) during drought periods. They reduce the intensity of floods and support river flows when the water level is low.
- Biological > Humid areas host a great biodiversity, developing essential functions for animal and vegetal species: they offer food (concentration of nutrients), ensure their reproduction through varied food resources and different habitats and represent a shelter and a resting place for fish and birds.
- Climatic > Humid areas contribute to regulating microclimates: rain falls and the atmospheric temperature may be locally influenced by phenomena of intense water evaporation through the lands and the vegetation characterizing humid areas.

 

Sources: Ministère de l’écologie, du développement durable et de l’énergie.

An area dedicated to marshes is found at the Paléospace l'Odyssée More about the Paléospace l'Odyssée