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

Located in central France, La Brenneis a vast, yet intimate, low-lyinglandscape of fish ponds, marshes,flowery meadows, slow-flowing streams,small arable fields, rambling hedgerows,heaths, scrubland and deciduous forests.Indeed, it offers a medieval landscape thatremains remarkably intact - stillpredominantly used to this day by fishfarmers and smallholders who havefavoured traditional rather than modernmethods on account of the region's boggyterrain, poor soils and complex pattern ofland ownership. As such, it remains ahaven for wildlife and a wonderful place inwhich visiting naturalists may enjoy awealth of natural history amongst tranquilsurroundings. With over 2,000 lakes, the 160,000-hectareRegional Nature Park of La Brenne is bothinternationally important and famed for itswetland birds. What is less well known isthat it is also a magnificent place forbutterflies due to its rich tapestry ofhabitats and the continued employment oftraditional farming and forestry practices.To date, 97 butterfly species have beenrecorded in La Brenne (nearly twice thenumber occurring in the whole of Britain!),including a number of special specieswhich are rare or rapidly declining in otherparts of Europe.Our aim on this tour will be to fully explorethe butterfly fauna of La Brenne throughvisits to some exceptional meadow andforest habitats that have rarely, if ever,been visited by Britsh entomologistsbefore. Amongst the species we will hopeto encounter are a number of rare orthreatened European species, includingCamberwell Beauty, Large Copper andLarge Blue, whilst amongst the commonspecies found in La Brenne at this time ofyear, yet absent from the British Isles, areLarge Chequered Skipper, Lesser PurpleEmperor, Large Tortoiseshell, SouthernWhite Admiral, Map, Pearly Heath, SootyCopper, Alcon Blue, Provençal Short-tailedBlue, Great Banded Grayling, IlexHairstreak, Scarce Swallowtail and manyspecies of fritillary, amongst them Spotted,Knapweed, Marbled and Lesser Marbled.We will also hope to see a number ofbutterflies that are rare in England butcommon in La Brenne, including LulworthSkipper, Berger's Clouded Yellow, Short-tailed Blue, Heath Fritillary, GlanvilleFritillary, Swallowtail, Wood White andBlack Hairstreak. Weather permitting, wehope to see up to 50 species during theholiday, a variety which you would be hardpressed to see during an entire year ofextensive travelling within the UK! Inaddition, we expect to encounter a wealth of other wildlife, in particular birds, dragonflies and orchids.To find these species we will be in thehighly capable hands of renowned localnaturalist Tony Williams, who has worked innature conservation in La Brenne for over25 years. Needless to say, Tony'sknowledge of this area and its many bird,plant and insect species is unsurpassed,and this, together with the access he hasto private estates, makes our tour to theregion very special. Our base will be asmall and traditional hotel in Mézières-en-Brenne, which has an excellent reputationlocally for fine cuisine. Mézières-en-Brenneis a charming small country town located inthe north of la Brenne and at the heart ofthe butterfly action. All of our excursionsare within a short drive of here, enabling usto maximise time spent watching butterfliesin the field. The pace will be gentle, toallow time for photography and to marvel atthe fabulous diversity of butterflies present.Each day we will focus on a differenthabitat type, to ensure that we are able toenjoy a varied range of butterfly speciesand experiences over the course of theholiday. As time and conditions allow, wewill also run a moth-trapping session or twoin the evening. This should attract a wealthof wetland species such as Gold Spot,Reed Dagger, Water Ermine, ReedLeopard, Pinion-streaked Snout, ReedTussock, Brown-veined Wainscot, Blair'sWainscot, Bulrush Wainscot, Fisher'sEstuarine Moth and Flame Wainscot, andsome spectacular species such asWillowherb Hawk-moth, Clifden and other nonpareils, as well as the GreatPeacock, Europe's largest moth. This will be a pioneering investigation, as very little is known about the moths of La Brenne!To reach La Brenne in as environmentallysound a manner as possible we will travelby train from London to Poitiers, then takean hour-long minibus ride to our hotel. Wewill return home at the end of our holiday inthe same manner, concluding a remarkablyvaried six days in a corner of France famedfor its birdlife, but equally important forbutterflies which, in a small way, this tourand its participants will help to promote.France - Butterflies of La BrenneA 6-day holiday, travelling to and from Poitiers by train, to enjoy the exceptionally rich wildlife of La Brenne, focusing in particular on its remarkable variety of butterflies.Thursday 27th June - Tuesday 2nd July Cost: £995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationSPAIN ITALY SWITZERLAND GERMANY BELGIUM LA BRENNE CALAIS LILLE PARIS POITIERS TOULOUSE BORDEAUX FRENCH ALPS STRASBOURG (FROM ST. PANCRAS)ENGLISH CHANNEL ATLANTIC OCEAN MEDITERRANEAN SEA FRANCE Outline itineraryDay 1Eurostar train fromLondon St. Pancras toPoitiers; transferMézières-en-Brenne.Day 2/5Butterfly and wildlifeexcursions throughoutLa Brenne.Day 6Eurostar train fromPoitiers to London St. Pancras.AccommodationA comfortable hotel with en suiterooms. FoodAll included in the price, except formeals taken in transit. Allow £30. GradingA. Day walks only. FocusButterflies, and other wildlife.LeaderTony Williams.Single room supplement£115. Web quick search: FRA0665Pearl-bordered FritillaryLarge Blue10% DONATIONTO

On this holiday we will be exploringthe Parc National des Pyrénées onfoot, using well-maintained mountaintrails for a series of gentle day walks which,in July, will enable us to enjoy the best ofthe great numbers and diversity ofbutterflies to be found in the hay meadows,woods and alpine pastures of this highcentral region of the French Pyrenees.These largely north-facing slopes, closer tothe Atlantic than the Mediterranean, arewetter, lusher, greener and more forestedthan the southern, Spanish slopes, and in atypical week's stay in this area duringmidsummer we may hope to see at least 70species of butterfly, with 100 being possiblein a good year, including local endemicsand many high-altitude specialists. Ourbase, throughout our stay, will be a pleasantcountry hotel in the quiet village of Gèdre.Situated at just over 1,000 metres, and justa short drive from the magnificent Cirque deGavarnie, it is an ideal base from which toexplore the full spectrum of Pyreneanhabitats during daily walking excursions ofvarying distances. We will explore at all altitudes between 500and 3,000 metres in order to enjoy as widea range of species as possible, but it is inthe high Pyrenees where we'll find most ofthe butterfly, plant, bird and mammalspecialities, not to mention the mostspectacular scenery! The area around theCirque de Gavarnie, with its high forests,alpine meadows and spectacular waterfalls,will be the focus of our attention on severaldays of our holiday. Its steep slopes, andsurrounding high peaks and passes, offerfine walking and the best of high Pyreneanbutterflies, birds and flowers. On the bleakand craggy Col de Boucharo, perched highon the Spanish border above the canyonsof the Ordessa National Park, we will lookfor Peak and Mountain Dappled Whites,Apollo and Clouded Apollo, and variousalpine Ringlets including Bright-eyed,Lefèbvre's, Yellow-spotted, Mountain andWestern Brassy. Snowfinches and AlpineAccentors are found feeding around themelting snow, whilst the tree-line is theplace to look for Citril Finches. BlackRedstarts, Water Pipits, Rock Buntings,Ravens, Choughs and Alpine Choughs arecommon, while overhead we'll see GoldenEagles, Lammergeiers, Griffon Vultures andother raptors. High cliffs will receiveparticular attention, for on these we willalways have a chance of finding that mostelusive of all Pyrenean birds, theWallcreeper. The tranquil and airy Cirque de Troumouse,high above the tree-line, is quite asbeautiful. Less well known than Gavarnie,its relative peace and quiet make it ahaven for mammals such as Marmots,Chamois and Foxes, with small pools andstreams being the home of the rare andelusive Pyrenean Brook Salamander. Theboulder-strewn slopes here and the alpinemeadows of the Heas Valley just below,are at this time of year a superb place tomarvel at the fabulous show of colourfulplants, including the beautiful blue EnglishIris, Alpenrose, Field, Spring and TrumpetGentians, a bewildering array of differentsaxifrages, various orchids and a wealth ofother interesting species. Of course, wherethe flora is rich it follows that the insectfauna is also very diverse, with Scarce,Purple-shot and Purple-edged Copper,numerous fritillaries, Camberwell Beauty,Large Tortoiseshell and many species ofblue being found. The star attraction,though, is the very rare and appropriatelynamed Gavarnie Blue, restricted to just afew sites in the central Pyrenees and theadjacent Cantabrian Mountains in Spain. At lower altitudes we will explore some ofthe many lakes and reservoirs, aroundwhich the waterside meadows are abotanist's paradise, with numerous speciesof butterfly proliferating in a pesticide-freeenvironment. Fritillaries are particularlyabundant in these habitats, with Niobe,High Brown, Shepherd's, False Heath,Marbled and Lesser Marbled amongstothers, while Blues are also numerous andinclude Amanda's, Turquoise, Escher's,Long-tailed, Osiris and Large Blue. Afurther challenge will be the identificationof the many species of fast-flying skippers.One day will also be set aside to visit theancient conifer forests, on granite rocks,that surround the beautiful Lac de Gaube,the change to acid conditions giving us awhole new range of different butterflies,plants and birds to enjoy. The formerinclude Mountain Clouded Yellow, Glandon,Baton, Osiris and Idas Blues, Apollo, Largeand Spanish Brassy Ringlet and Large WallBrown, while Water Saxifrage, Large YellowGentian, Alpine Sow-thistle and AlpineLeek are amongst the many plants to befound here. The pine woods also support awide range of birds, including BlackWoodpecker and Crested Tit, and theendearing Red Squirrel. This holiday, taking in the broad range ofPyrenean natural history, and offering awide variety and choice of walkingexcursions, should suit a broad range ofinterests and abilities. But it is thebutterflies that are the stars in July, andthey are what we place a special focus onduring this 'high summer' holiday.France - Butterflies of the Pyrenees An 8-day holiday in search of the profusion of butterflies, and other natural history, to be found on gentle day walks in the French Pyrenees.Thursday 4th July - Thursday 11th July Cost: £1,295Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Pau or Lourdes;transfer Gèdre.Day 2/7Walking excursions inthe Parc National desPyrénées in search ofbutterflies and othernatural history.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationA delightful family-run hotel, allrooms with private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade B. Day walks only. FocusButterflies, plus other naturalhistory.LeaderMark Galliott.Single room supplement£180.Web quick search: FRA0366Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryJACAPYRENEESGAVARNIEGÈDREPAUTOULOUSEBORDEAUXANDORRABILBAOMADRIDFRANCESPAIN10% DONATIONTOCirque de GavarniePurple-edged CopperApolloEscher's Blue