On July 5, André Accary, president of the department of Saône-et-Loire, and Catherine Amiot, vice-president in charge of the environment, inaugurated the 6th sensitive natural space in Azé.
After the sensitive natural area of the Marais de Massilly, the one with the Pont du Roi de Saint-Émiland, the Marais de Montceaux-l’Étoile, the Étang de Pontoux and the Lande de Nancelle at Roche Vineuse, it is now the ENS d’Azé that opens its doors to the public .
The preservation and promotion of 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 these, the ENS d’Azé with a course entitled “On the roof of the caves”, part of which is a “classified site” by the state. The Sensitive Natural Area (ENS) of the Azé Caves and its discovery trail Located in the heart of the Mâconnais mountains, the ENS d’Azé, including the forested hillside to the north and the recently “renaturalized” Mouge river sector to the south-west is characterized by the presence of a wild forest. Remarkable trees, fauna and flora typical of a dry environment, mysteries and natural treasures characterize a landscaped and marked path of approximately 1.5 km.
An educational journey
10 educational stops explain the fauna and flora of this prehistoric high place in the Quaternary period, with one of the oldest presences of man (approx. 300,000 years) and the big cats, bears and cave lions (approx. 200,000 years). This route is complemented by a “green treasure hunt” leaflet in development, available on site (town hall, reception building) in paper version and downloadable from the website of the Saône-et-Loire department.
The discovery trail “On the roof of the caves” initially focuses on the wooded hillside. With a length of 1.5 km, this rather physical course, based on the theme of exploration and discovery, is complementary to that of the caves. It will process various information related to the forest and its ecosystem, the vegetation, the fauna, the development of the landscape and the sound environment of nature.
The investment for the department of Saône-et-Loire amounts to more than €55,000.
On the advice of the ONF, the creation of the track and its security required work to clear the false acacia, a particularly invasive tree. This intervention was carried out by the Danish Cultural Heritage Agency.
Development of the belvedere: A belvedere of approx. 120 m², furnished ten years ago, did not meet the criteria for securing the public or the orientation of the classified site.
Tim Boursier Mougenot, landscape gardener commissioned by the department, therefore recommended the lightest possible development without distorting the site. Furniture and signage.
The furniture and signage have been designed to preserve the environment, blending in with the natural surroundings, in keeping with the spirit of the classified area.
10 interpretive panels of various shapes and about ten signposts were installed.
Designed exclusively by the Department of Saône-et-Loire, this course has been shaped and manufactured by the company PicBois.
As with the other departments ENS, various guided tours will be offered, accompanied by a nature guide from the Institute or the Bird Protection Association (LPO), as part of their collaboration with the department. These free guided tours, for the general public and school children, are organized during the summer season and throughout the year for groups on request. This year, two visits from ENS (animator from the Department of Saône-et-Loire) are planned for 28 July and 3 August.
Information and registration: 03 85 39 55 00 – firstname.lastname@example.org