Tag Archives: lake

The lakes around Rosnay

Any map of the area around Rosnay in France shows an amazing number of lakes. Some are quite small, while others are very extensive. This landscape feature puzzled us when we were doing our tour planning and we decided that a ride through the area to have a look was in order.

I rather suspected (hoped?) that the lakes were part of a large native wetland environment and we were going to be treated to a number of sightings of native fauna and flora.

I have actually written about this place in a previous post (Night riding in the inky dark) , however, I did not include many photos of the lakes or any information on the the Brenne Nature Park.

What we found was something quite different to what I imagined, and yet it still lived up to what I had expected (in many respects). The lakes area is certainly a very big wetland environment, but the vegetation and fauna were nothing like I had envisaged.

This nature reserve is huge – it covers 166 000 hectares (640 square miles). There are over 2ooo lakes, all of which are man made.

Rosnay2I am not sure why they were constructed, only that it happened a very long time ago and all are now part of a naturalised habitat. The largest lake is the Mer Rouge (Red Sea) which covers 160 hectares.

Unlike many of the parks I am familiar with, this one is crossed by many roads and has people living throughout the area. This makes many of the lakes readily accessible to nature lovers and the place is a mecca for those who enjoy wildlife.

Plants and animals both thrive in the ideal conditions and more than 2300 animal species co-exist with 1200 different species of plants.

I must confess that I did not spend a great deal of time looking at the varieties of plants and/or birds because it did not strike me at the time that there were many to observe. However, this may have been because our timing was wrong (it was Autumn).

Whatever the cause, it was remarkably quiet on the roads – no traffic and few people anywhere! Bicycle rider’s version of heaven!

Ironically, the lakes are also a mecca for duck hunters. Naturalists and hunters live in an uneasy peace, each enjoying their own activities, but aware that they are in constant virtual conflict.

Hunting huts abound around the lakes, but most were mostly deserted while we were there. I am not familiar with the hunting laws in France, except I do know they are quite strict. So perhaps we were there out of hunting season and this is why it was  so quiet.

We were puzzled by the cleared areas and small mounds along some of the roads, but apparently this makes game easier to see (hunters stand on the mound and the hapless animals get caught as they cross the open zone).

Whatever the reason for the solitude, I did enjoy the easy riding and the spectacular views of the lakes.


Travel challenge: Night (riding in the inky dark!)

About half way through our cycling trip in France in 2009, we left Pellevoisin on a chilly morning and headed for the Brenne National Park. This is a large park, which is characterised by many hundreds of lakes in a relatively flat landscape.

Ailsa from “Where’s my backpack” has set a challenge for a travel theme of “night”. This post is a bit out of the ordinary, but describes one of the most memorable nights rides I have done!

One of many hunting/holiday lodges near the lakes

Brenne National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise – this being one of its main attractions. We were told that it is also a favourite place for hunters!

However, we were here to explore the area from a cycling perspective and had not brought our binoculars! We did, however, manage some shooting – with our cameras! It was interesting comparing the different lakes (size, surrounding vegetation and depth of water) and the types of birds attracted to each. Some of the lakes were quite small and others were really huge – all having been constructed at some stage (ie none were naturally formed). Some were also quite full, while others were nearly empty.

Cycling around the lakes during the day

The cycling was easy as there were no hills and we were able to explore the area quite extensively as a result. We covered about 80km for the day – one of our longer stretches in the saddle (but also one of the crusiest!).

Clouds reflected in the water make a lovely image

We were headed for a fabulous B&B about 5km north of Rosnay – it was an old 19th century school house which had been beautifully renovated. On arrival, we were greeted and spoilt with tea and cake by our lovely hosts. My French was getting reasonable by this stage, and the discussion was animated and a lot of fun.

The one thing we were not able to get at this B&B was dinner. Knowing this, we had spent some time during the afternoon finding a suitable restaurant which served meals. It was about 4km away on the shores of Etang de la Gabriere (Gabriere Lake) – a very large expanse of water when full (which is wasn’t, so we did not get to see it in all its splendour). Our plan was to cycle around to this establishment later that night to get our evening meal.

Every lake was different – the trees around this one were so beautiful

The lakes had a shroud of mist over them in the early morning

The weather had warmed up considerably and it had turned into a very pleasant evening – just right for a night time ride. We left in the daylight and had no trouble navigating our way back to the restaurant. I doubt that the locals had ever had anyone arrive for a night time meal on bicycles, because we were certainly a topic of conversation and amusement. Perhaps it was the combination of the cycling gear, helmets and Australian accents!

It was dark when we left – really, really dark! There was no moon and since we were out in the countryside, there were no streetlights either. The road back to our B&B was quite narrow, only a single lane, but the thing I had not noticed on the way over was that it also had no markings on it. No lines or marker posts anywhere!  It was also a very quiet road – we did not meet a single vehicle on our return trip.

The result was that we were riding completely in the dark! The bikes had their headlights, but these were like small torchbeams bobbing about in the intense inkiness. Because there were no lines or guideposts, it took quite a lot of concentration to make sure the bike stayed on the winding, narrow road! It was one of the most fun and memorable experiences of my life!

I would include a photo, but since it was so dark, there would be nothing to see!

(Follow this link for the itinerary and details for our Tour of France)