page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157
page 158
page 159
page 160
page 161
page 162
page 163
page 164
page 165
page 166
page 167
page 168
page 169
page 170
page 171
page 172
page 173
page 174
page 175
page 176
page 177
page 178
page 179
page 180
page 181
page 182
page 183
page 184
page 185
page 186
page 187
page 188
page 189
page 190
page 191
page 192
page 193
page 194
page 195
page 196
page 197
page 198
page 199
page 200
page 201
page 202
page 203
page 204
page 205
page 206
page 207
page 208
page 209
page 210
page 211
page 212
page 213
page 214
page 215
page 216
page 217
page 218
page 219
page 220
page 221
page 222
page 223
page 224
page 225
page 226
page 227
page 228
page 229
page 230
page 231
page 232
page 233
page 234
page 235
page 236
page 237
page 238
page 239
page 240
page 241
page 242
page 243
page 244
page 245
page 246
page 247
page 248
page 249
page 250
page 251
page 252
page 253
page 254
page 255
page 256
page 257
page 258
page 259
page 260
page 261
page 262
page 263
page 264
page 265
page 266
page 267
page 268
page 269
page 270
page 271
page 272
page 273
page 274
page 275
page 276
page 277
page 278
page 279
page 280
page 281
page 282
page 283
page 284
page 285
page 286
page 287
page 288
page 289
page 290
page 291
page 292

The Cévennes is a spectacularmountainous area on the south-eastern edge of the Massif Central. Delightfully unspoilt, its wonderful variety ofscenery and habitats provide a specialcombination for the naturalist and walker.From our base for this holiday - a smalland friendly hotel in the attractive littlevillage of Cocurès, close to theadministrative centre of the CévennesNational Park - we will make full use ofthe region's excellent trails as we searchfor the wealth of plants, birds andbutterflies to be found here; the deliciousmeals served at our hotel and our famousFrench picnic lunches will ensure that noone lacks for energy! The Cévennes' variety of habitats withinsuch a relatively small area is trulyexceptional. The granite and schist peaksof Mont Lozère (1,699 metres), MontAigoual (1,567 metres) and Mont Bougés(1,362 metres) have a quite different florafrom the surrounding limestone areas, andpine and deciduous forests, hedgerows,limestone plateaux, flower-filled meadows,deep gorges and fast-flowing rivers providefurther contrasts. To the west lies the vastlimestone plateau of the Causses, withtypical karst scenery of dramatic canyons,weathered peaks and caves. We will visit allthese habitats, many of them protectedwithin the Cévennes National Park thatcovers the central part of the range. Furtherdiversity, created by the variety of climate,aspect, rainfall, soil and altitude, providesan extremely rich flora, especially orchids.Insects are abundant, and a good varietyof butterflies are to be found, together withmany birds, particularly raptors. All in all,there is no doubt that this is one of thefinest regions of France for the naturalist,whatever one's interests, and we willexplore it as best we can on walksthroughout the area.In the heart of the region lies the Cornichedes Cévennes, a 50-kilometre ridge with aroad along it that gives wide views over thenational park and the Causses. Along theridge the vegetation changes as thelimestone gives way to schist, but theoldest traces of life, about 180 million yearsold, are the dinosaur footprints near St.Laurent. Walking here we should find manyorchids - including Green-winged, Elder-flowered, Monkey, Military and LadyOrchids, plus their various hybrids - andsuch birds as Golden, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Black Kite, Buzzard, AlpineSwift and Rock Bunting. We will also explore the Gorges du Tarn, tothe west. Here the river has carved thisdeep gorge through the limestone,revealing many fossils and providingnesting ledges for Peregrine, Chough, CragMartin and Blue Rock Thrush. Along theriver Dippers and Grey Wagtails feed;above fly butterflies - Swallowtails, ScarceSwallowtails, Cleopatras, GreenHairstreaks, Adonis Blues and fritillaries.Typical mountain plants may be found heresuch as Rock Soapwort and rockroses,whilst a little to the north in the pinewoodswe will find several wintergreens, togetherwith such orchids as Bird's Nest Orchid,and both Sword-leaved and WhiteHelleborines. Birds in these woods includeCrested Tit, Firecrest and woodpeckers,and Red Squirrel and Pine Marten areoccasionally sighted.Mont Lozère is the highest point of theregion and a road takes us over its flanksvia the Col de Finiels. The underlying rocks here change to provide us with bothan alkaline and an acid flora, includingmany orchids, narcissi, bilberry, violas,potentillas, pulsatillas, rampions and avens.The area is favoured by birds of prey, andthese may include Merlin, and Montagu'sand Hen Harriers. Rock Sparrow, RockBunting, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor andRing Ouzel may also be seen here, plusGoshawk, Sparrowhawk, tits, finches andwarblers in the woods below.On more than one occasion we willtraverse the Causse Méjean with its wideopen landscape and the extraordinary karstformations at Nîmes-le-Vieux. Waysideflowers include Pyrenean Broom, manyvetches, Yellow Flax, the local subspeciesof Alpine Aster, Grass-leaved Ox-eye Daisy,Maiden Pink, the saucer-sized seed headsof Acanthus-leaved Carline Thistle, whichare traditionally pinned to the doors ofhouses, and Burnt-tip, Fly and SpiderOrchids. Here we will also search for StoneCurlew, harriers, Short-toed Eagle, shrikes,Quail, Rock Sparrow, Tawny Pipit and suchwarblers as Orphean and Melodious. In the Gorges de la Jonte we will be able toenjoy more birds of prey, including Griffonand Black Vultures - both the result ofsuccessful reintroduction programmes. Thegranite and schist outcrop of Mont Aigoualis reached by road, through beech,chestnut, and then pine woodland. Inspring, Poet's Narcissi form white sheets,tulips provide yellow patches, and theverges support a range of orchids. Justbelow the summit is a 'Sentier desBotanistes' which we will walk, enjoyingdramatic views across the Aigoual Massif.The summit area is being actively managedto encourage Apollo butterflies to thrive; itis also a great place for Egyptian Vulture,amongst other raptors. Further to thesouth, we will visit the Gorges de laDourbie on the edge of the Causse Noir.Above the gorge the Causse supportsbreeding Little Bustards and Stone Curlew;to the south the open terrain also holdsHoopoe, Ortolan Bunting, Orphean Warbler,and Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes.Plants include Fly Honeysuckle,Amelanchier and Ophrysorchids, and thecultivated fields sport such attractive'weeds' as Pheasant's-eye Poppies andCornflowers. This is not an area where anynaturalist may become bored!France - The CévennesAn 8-day holiday - in search of plants, birds and butterflies - in the south-eastern corner of the Massif Central.Thursday 23rd May - Thursday 30th May Cost: £1,295Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationSPAINITALYSWITZERLANDGERMANYBELGIUMPARISTOULOUSEBORDEAUXFRENCHALPSSTRASBOURGENGLISH CHANNELATLANTIC OCEANMEDITERRANEANSEAFRANCECÉVENNESCOCURÈSMONTPELLIEROutline itineraryDay 1Fly Montpellier anddrive to Cocurès. Day 2/7Walking natural historyexcursions in theCévennes. Day 8Fly London.AccommodationA pleasant and traditional villagehotel, with private facilities, servingfine local food.FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade A. FocusPlants, birds and butterflies.LeadersJohn Willsher (ornithologist) andJenny Willsher (botanist).Single room supplement£165.Web quick search: FRA1261Gorges du TarnCocurès Monkey Orchid

62Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryThe Cévennes is a spectacularmountainous area on the south-eastern edge of the Massif Central.Delightfully unspoilt, its wonderful variety ofscenery and habitats provide a specialcombination for the naturalist and walker.From our base for this holiday - a smalland friendly hotel in the attractive littlevillage of Cocurès, close to Florac, theadministrative centre of the CévennesNational Park - we will make full use ofthe region's excellent trails as we searchfor the wealth of natural history and, inparticular on this holiday, the wealth ofbutterflies to be found here. Fuelled by thedelicious meals served at our hotel, andour famous French picnic lunches, we (asalways!) intend to enjoy ourselves.The high granite peaks of Mont Lozère(1,699 metres) and Mont Aigoual (1,567metres) contrast with the surroundinglimestone and schist areas, all providing arich diversity of habitat within a relativelysmall area. Pine and deciduous forests,upland pasture, marshy wetlands, drylimestone plateaux with grassland androcks, flower-filled meadows, and deepgorges with cliffs and fast-flowing rivers,will all be explored during our stay. Furtherdiversity, created by the variety of climate,aspect, rainfall, soil and altitude,encourages an extremely rich flora,especially of orchids, which attracts anabundance of insects. In particular, there isa very good variety of butterflies, and up to70 or 80 species are possible during ourweek's stay.In the heart of the region lies the Cornichedes Cévennes, a 50-kilometre ridge with aroad along it that gives wide views over thenational park and the Causses. On ourwalks here we should find a wealth ofbutterfly species, among them Purple-shotCopper, Scarce and Common Swallowtails,Berger's Clouded Yellow, Large WallBrown, numerous fritillaries, and bluessuch as Escher's, Adonis and Baton. Wemay also find Green-winged, Burnt-tip,Elder-flowered, Lady, Military, Monkey andFrog Orchids, and birds such as Golden,Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Red Kite,Woodlark and Tree Pipit. Just to the west of Florac, the River Tarn has carved a deep and spectaculargorge through the limestone, the cliffsbeing a haven for Eagle Owl, Peregrine,Chough, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin andBlue Rock Thrush. Butterflies areparticularly numerous here, with Cleopatra, Blue-spot, Sloe, Ilex and Green Hairstreaks, Provençal, Twin-spotand Marbled Fritillaries, and Chequeredand Osiris Blues all likely, while on thenearby Causse Méjean we'll look for the extremely localised Esper's Marbled White. These limestone rocks are alsohome to many interesting plants, amongthem Rock Soapwort, St. Bernard's Lily, the endemic Cévennes Saxifrage andMalling Toadflax, and a colony of Lady'sSlipper Orchid.On the underlying granite of Mont Lozèrewe find a good acid flora, including thestriking yellow of Piorno Broom, abundantblue Mountain Pansy, Alpine Clover andSpring Pasque Flower. The damp flushesbeneath the summit are excellent forbutterflies, with Large Tortoiseshell,Camberwell Beauty, Purple-edged andSooty Coppers, Chestnut Heath, and Pearl-bordered, High Brown and Weaver'sFritillaries often seen. This area is alsofavoured by birds of prey, and these mayinclude Montagu's and Hen Harrier, Merlinand Goshawk, with Rock Bunting, WaterPipit, Black Redstart, Crossbill and CrestedTit also present.We will visit the extensive limestoneplateaux, with the Causse Noir, a superbpatchwork of pine woods, grasslands andsmall arable fields, a good example.Butterflies are numerous here with Rock,Woodland and Great-banded Graylings,Black-veined White, White and SouthernWhite Admirals, fritillaries, skippers andscarce blues such as Chapman's andMountain Alcon, just some of the speciesexpected! Colourful plants, too, areeverywhere, with Aphyllanthes, Globularia,orchids, rockroses, and Yellow, Blue andWhite Flax creating a wonderful tapestry.Overlooking the Gorge de la Jonte, this isalso a good place to see magnificentGriffon Vultures at close quarters as theyglide along the cliff-top - evidence of ahighly successful re-introductionprogramme in the early 1990s.Finally, we'll drive to the pastures at the top of the forested Mont Aigoual. Here weshould find such alpine butterflies asMountain, Bright-eyed, Piedmont andOttoman Brassy Ringlet, as well as suchother species as Dusky Heath and Niobe,High Brown and Glanville Fritillaries in thevicinity. Sheets of yellow tulips, LargeYellow Gentian, Aconite-leaved Buttercupand Martagon Lily all provide botanicalinterest, while Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes, Rock and Ortolan Buntingsare among the avian highlights. Like all the sites in the Cévennes, this isn't a place where the naturalist may easilybecome bored!France - Butterflies ofthe CévennesAn 8-day holiday in search of the wealth of butterflies, and other natural history, to be found in the south-eastern corner of the Massif Central.Thursday 6th June - Thursday 13th June Cost: £1,295Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Montpellier anddrive to Cocurès.Day 2/7Excursions on foot insearch of butterflies andother natural history ofthe Cévennes.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationA pleasant and traditional villagehotel, with private facilities, servingfine local food.FoodAll included in the price.Grading A. Gentle day walks only.Focus Butterflies, plus other naturalhistory.LeaderMark Galliott. Single room supplement£165.Web quick search: FRA02SPAINITALYSWITZERLANDGERMANYBELGIUMPARISTOULOUSEBORDEAUXFRENCHALPSSTRASBOURGENGLISH CHANNELATLANTIC OCEANMEDITERRANEANSEAFRANCECÉVENNESCOCURÈSMONTPELLIER10% DONATIONTOMazarine BlueBerger's Clouded YellowProvençal Fritillary