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"The moorland around Lessay is one of the largest of its type in this part of Normandy known as the Cotentin peninsula.


 

It is a land of cultivation, of fertile valleys, green grasslands, rivers full of fish - the Cotentin is France’s answer to Tempe*, a rich agricultural land, which like its close neighbour Brittany, also has areas of sparse vegetation with nothing but a few gorse bushes, of fertile yet bare land, where humans just pass through and where nothing grows apart from the odd blade of grass and a few heathers, soon dried out...".  Adapted from an extract of Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly’s novel "L’Ensorcelée".

* plains of Thessaly in north-east Greece, between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, where the small Peneus river, known for its cool shady places, flows.


"Imagine for a few moments how this large expanse of moorland looked years’ ago: a vast uncultivated area, with nothing to arrest the eye along the stretch of horizon.  The paths which crossed it were not very  firm and quite treacherous in places, following an erratic line.  The moors inspired fears and mysteries, and there are several legends which have grown up around them - such as the White Lady or little goblins (elves which frightened children).

Today part of the moorland soil is used for agricultural purposes.  The topsoil is not as thick and can therefore be dug more easily.

The 1800 hectares of protected areas are home to a typical array of flora and fauna which must work doubly hard to survive in these difficult habitats: a poor, acidic soil which is often partially or totally waterlogged.  Over 800 plants have been identified of which about a 100 are rated rare and of national or European interest: Summer Ladies Tresses and Royal Peppers.  There is an abundance of small animals as well as brightly coloured sparrow-sized birds: song linnets or warblers".

Extract from the "Promenades et Randonnées dans la region de Lessay" topoguide.

The moorland around Lessay is part of a protected area which comes under the umbrella of "Natura 2000".