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A natural space

Protected site, pilot island in environment protection

A natural space created by man

The present-day configuration of Île de Ré is the consequence of man’s work. As a matter of fact, man created salt marshlands while shaping the scenery and environment. Mainly located in the north of the island, marshlands represent 20% of the total surface, that is to say 1,500ha.

Some of them are active for salt production or are used to refine oysters, others shelter remarkable fauna and  flora: these shallow spaces represent reservoirs for fish and eels. Between marshlands, on islets and on the sides of bumps, protected species can alight and nest in peace; in some  fields, robust blackhead sheep of Scottish origin conscientiously maintain meadows by grazing salt-water grass.

The geometric patterns formed by the ponds reflect the colour of the sky blending together with the clayey bo ttom, thus producing unusual colours, slate grey, mauve blue, or sometimes pink.  The different seasons see the various colours follow one after another: the yellow of mustard owers and brooms in spring, the white of umbelliferae and the mauve of sea lavender in summer, the red of glassworts in autumn.

While you go through marshlands on foot or by bike, everything seems monotonous and similar; yet, in this space where silence is punctuated with bird calls, everything is picturesque and diverse.

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