Goes out: Marais de Massilly, 5. sensitive natural spaces

It was last June that André Accary, president of the department of Saône-et-Loire, and Catherine Amiot, vice-president responsible for the environment, inaugurated the 5th sensitive natural space in Massilly. After the ENS du Pont du Roi in Saint-Émiland, Marais de Montceaux-l’Étoile, Étang de Pontoux and Lande de Nancelle in La Roche Vineuse, it is the ENS du Marais de Massilly that has opened its doors to the public.

Preservation and improvement of the particularly sensitive heritage and allowing the public to discover and appreciate its riches are part of the missions of the department of Saône-et-Loire.

In this context, three new ENS via the departmental plan for sensitive natural areas revised in 2020 complete the offer in Saône-et-Loire. Among them the Marais de Massilly, which joined the department heritage in 2018. These are the 5 ENS developed by the department. The Massilly Marsh has been open to the public since April 2022.

Located in a place called “Prés des Tilles”, the Marais de Massilly consists of three plots and represents a total area of ​​2.6 hectares. Like all types of wetlands, bogs provide useful functions for ecological balances and provide valuable services: regulating floods, playing a role as a natural sponge, but also improving water quality thanks to the capacity filtering of their vegetation.

The ENS du Marais de Massilly is a low bog colonized by vegetation adapted to the temporary or permanent presence of water. It is thus composed of various wet natural habitats with a clear predominance of large Skær, forming a Skæreng. These habitats, of high cultural heritage value, occupy small areas and have declined in recent years with the growth of the forest and the pastoral abandonment of these areas. Although useful, these environments are now at risk and it is becoming a necessity to preserve them.

The ENS du Marais de Massilly thus has a large animal and plant biodiversity. This variety of wetlands thus constitutes a food or host area for many species of birds, spiders, amphibians and butterflies. Thus, the proven presence of the swamp copper, the mercury emerald, but also several species of amphibians such as the tree frog or the spotted salamander testify to the richness of this environment. In addition, the Marais de Massilly is surrounded by bocage hedges that offer ecological corridors, shelters, breeding and nesting areas for many species.

A path of discovery for young and old to explore

A discovery trail, decorated with various educational panels, is laid out in such a way as to provide good visibility to the public, while ensuring that the tranquility of the site and the quality of the identified habitats are preserved as much as possible. As a result, the opening of the site to the public has been studied with the greatest attention, taking into account the fragility of the environment. Reasonable development of the Massilly Marsh enables it to highlight its biodiversity and increase public awareness of wetland conservation and species protection. A walk to take time to listen to birdsong and enjoy this enchanting soundscape. A fantastic opportunity to discover nature in a different way.

The site is freely available to everyone. The main entrance invites visitors to park in the greenway car park located at the old Massilly station (free) before reaching the marshland by the greenway towards Cluny approx. 900 meters on foot. People with reduced mobility also have the option of entering the site: a two-space car park has been established, accessible by vehicle via a forest path, along the green road.

The works

To allow the public to witness this beautiful natural spectacle, major works have been carried out for an investment by the Department of Saône-et-Loire of more than €120,000.

A journey of discovery consisting of:

  • a gravel path of approx. 140 linear meters to cross the forest area in direct connection with the greenway before arriving at the wetland,
  • a wooden deck on stilts of about 160 linear meters that allows you to discover the marsh while limiting the impact of trampling on the environment,
  • a 25 m² and 1.20 m high observation platform that offers an elevated view of the site, but also of the Grosne river forest and the nearby forest,
  • a pond of around 20 m² with the aim of raising awareness of the interest of ponds and at the same time creating an ecological corridor on the ENS,
  • a parking space reserved for people with reduced mobility, including 2 parking spaces near the entrance to the site,
  • interpretive panels to explain the animal and plant species found on the ENS.

The law of 18 July 1985 on the preservation of the quality of localities, landscapes and natural environments, which is now included in the Town Planning Act under Article L142, empowers the departments to develop and implement a policy for the protection, management and opening to the public of sensitive natural areas (ENS) through the departmental plan for sensitive natural areas.

The ambition of these new orientations is to maintain and develop the departmental approach to preserving natural spaces, to diversify its offer of discovery to the public, to create a network of quality natural spaces, diversified both in environmental type, geographically distributed throughout the Saône -et-Loire.

Guided tours

Guided tours are planned in the 5 sensitive nature areas led by a nature animator from the Institute or the Bird Protection Association (LPO) as part of their partnership with the department. These free guided tours, intended for the general public and school children, are organized during the summer season and throughout the year for groups on request.

Next guided visit in the Marais de Massilly:

  • Friday, August 5: In search of marsh copper (Guide of the Department)

Information and registration: 03 85 39 55 00 – pier@saoneetloire71.fr

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