The natural areas of the Gironde

Discover the animations, for the most part free, programmed for the season on the sensitive natural spaces of Gironde.

With family or friends, with or without a guide, there is something for everyone!

What is a Sensitive Natural Area?

A Sensitive Natural Area (ENS) is a classified and protected site to preserve its unique biological wealth. For example: natural environments and habitats, fauna, flora… It is open to the public so that everyone can discover and enjoy its exceptional character.

For more than 20 years, the Conseil Général de la Gironde has been pursuing an active policy. With its partners (environmental education associations, Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park…), to promote the Sensitive Natural Areas of Gironde.

The domain of Certes-Graveyron

This Sensitive Natural Area represents 500 hectares composed of wetlands, grazed meadows, woodlands and dykes. The Certes estate, a former salt marsh, and the Graveyron estate, formerly used for extensive fish farming, are now managed for the preservation of natural environments.

The lagoon of Contaut

The luxuriant vegetation that you will discover while walking the one kilometer circuit that surrounds this lagoon will transport you far from the beaches, the pine forest or the vineyards of the Médoc. Here the Royal Osmonds – royal ferns – can reach 3 meters high… A footbridge located at 1,20 meter from the ground will allow you to dive in the heart of this very dense wooded marsh. You may be lucky enough to see the European Otter, which likes to hide in the lagoon.

The banks of the lake of Hourtin

The calm and tranquility of this site are conducive to escape. The vast wetlands that extend to the pine forest, are an extraordinary biological wealth in Gironde. Their geographical location, their distance from the coastal tourist areas and their natural configuration make them a privileged space for the development of fauna and flora.

The delta of the Leyre

Alternating salt meadows, dyked areas, reed beds, pasture meadows… the Leyre Delta shines by its diversity. The oaks that line the banks of the Leyre form a vegetation canopy along the river. A farandole of varied luminous notes, created by the sun’s rays and the ochre color of the water, accompanies you all along.

The lagoons of Gât-Mort

Remains of the old wet heathland that covered hundreds of thousands of hectares 150 years ago. The marshes and lagoons of glacial origin constitute, here, a secret and magical environment. These lagoons form, today, one of the richest reservoirs of biodiversity in this immense forest of Landes de Gascogne. Some species of aquatic insects that can only be found in the boreal regions of northern Europe have been discovered there. It will also be impossible for you to miss…

The Gérard Lagors Departmental Domain

This vast domain is an old lignite exploitation. Active until the early 60s, reinvested by water and nature. Following the marked trails, your excursion will lead you from marsh to pond, from small bodies of water to large ones. Rich of all these transformations, the wetlands bordering the big lakes of the site are of an unsuspected biological diversity. Drosera – carnivorous plants typical of peaty wetlands – dragonflies…

The marshes of the Pointe du Médoc

The appellation ” Marais de la pointe du Médoc ” groups together 4 sites close to each other. The marsh of Logit, the marsh of the Advisor, Clair de Bel and the marsh of Neyran. In the heart of the Médoc, between the estuary and the ocean. These marshes offer a remarkable spectacle, as much for the animal species that inhabit them as for the plant species that develop there. These wetlands represent a very important mosaic of natural environments and allow a multitude of species to survive.

Beaches and dunes

The dunes and beaches of the Gironde coastline are not only a space dedicated to swimming and leisure. They are also one of the key elements of a vast ecological complex with a fragile and very rich fauna and flora. Rarely preserved in France. Grey dune, white dune, protection forest, high beach and ocean beaches. So many unknown environments near the bathing areas.

The nature reserve of the pond of Cousseau

Of all the Sensitive Natural Spaces of Gironde, Cousseau has the particularity of being inaccessible to cars. It is thus necessary to deserve the discovery of this superb site very preserved. Before you see the pond, you will have to cross the wooded dune and then go down to the heart of the barins. Small jewels of the evolution of the coastal landscapes, and follow the banks lined with giant ferns.

The tip of Cap Ferret

Far from being a simple stretch of sand that changes with time and tides, the tip of Cap Ferret offers a unique view of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. The Bay of Arcachon and the ocean. It also constitutes a particular and fragile biotope offering a characteristic flora and fauna of the Atlantic coast. Located on an important migration route, Le Ferret is also a site for bird watching during the fall migration.

The Banc d’Arguin nature reserve

This sandbank in the heart of the passes of the Bay of Arcachon is one of the 6 national nature reserves of the Gironde. Its particularity, apart from the exceptional beauty of the landscapes and its fragility in the face of the tourist frequentation, lies in the colony of tern caugek installed on the site since a long time and which constitutes one of the biggest concentrations in period of reproduction of this species.

The natural reserve of the salt meadows of Arès – Lège

Located between land and salt water, this site perpetuates the natural environments of the sea to the forest: mudflats, salt meadows, dune hem, wooded dune, forest … and where plants have truly adapted to survive in this hostile environment: glasswort, obione … The nature reserve of salt meadows lives at the pace of the tides: sometimes island of greenery in the middle of the mud, sometimes covered by the tide and leaving more or less vegetation. These particularities give the Arcachon Basin

The pier of Andernos

The pier of Andernos-les-Bains, a good viewpoint for an excellent observation of the Arcachon Basin, is not well known for the spectacle offered by the brant (emblematic bird of the region)! It is one of the natural spaces of the Gironde. Coming to the end of the pier, you can better know and observe this small wild goose that spends the winter on the Bay of Arcachon.

The coastal path

The walk along the coastal path offers visitors magnificent panoramas of the typical landscapes of the Bay of Arcachon. As the tides go by, discover a very diversified fauna and flora that live together in perfect harmony. You will distinguish the two faces of the Arcachon Basin: on the one hand a galloping urbanization and on the other the richness and fragility of the landscapes, remarkable heritage of the basin.

Environmental cruises

The Garonne, the Dordogne, the Gironde estuary, the Isle and the Bassin d’Arcachon: so many elements of the landscape difficult to apprehend from the mainland. The association Terre et Océan takes you on board these rivers and lagoons to discover all their richness. More than a walk on the water: conferences, commented cruises and stopovers are on the program!

The forest of Migelane

For the first time, a departmental forest is open to the public with guided tours. With an extraordinary biodiversity, this place promises you beautiful encounters in the heart of the pines, small wetlands hidden in the massif…

The nature reserve of the marshes of Bruges

This beautiful ensemble of marshes, wet meadows and hardwood forests is what remains of the “great marshes of Bordeaux” which once covered more than a thousand hectares. Today, the 280 hectares of the reserve are protected and it continues to amaze by the quality of its landscapes, but also by its biodiversity. Indeed, the White Stork has again colonized the marshes to breed and feed in peace.

The geological nature reserve of Saucats – La Brède

Aquitaine’s jewel in the crown of the history of biodiversity of 20 million years ago, the Saucats – La Brède nature reserve guarantees you great discoveries! The theme of geology, although predominant in the animation program for all audiences, also leaves room for actions related to biodiversity and natural areas typical of this territory of the Gironde, located between Graves and Landes de Gascogne.

The valley of Leyre

In the heart of the immense and fragrant forest of maritime pines of the Landes plateau, a secret and peaceful river flows: the Leyre. It is this small coastal river that formed the Arcachon Basin. Its landscapes and natural environments give the place an extraordinary biodiversity: otters, European Pond Pond Pond, Great Egret, Brent Goose… The Centre du Graoux, a facility of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park, offers the public a range of educational activities.

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