Founded in 1989, the 1,672 sq km of the Brenne Regional Natural Park form an internationally important wetland area. This diverse landscape with thousands of lakes is a wonderland of fauna and flora for all to enjoy. See orchids and ancient oaks, dragonflies, deer and wild boar and perhaps even the rare freshwater European pond tortoise. Bordered by sheer limestone cliffs, the leisurely flowing Rivers Creuse and Anglin offer ideal waters for canoeists and anglers for carp, zander and pike. Indre is traditional hunting country and game and wildfowl abound.
Those armed with a camera can snap wetland warblers, purple heron and short-toed eagles. It’s hard to imagine today how much of a hand man has had on the landscape of the Brenne with its mosaic of ponds, prairies and woods to the north and woodlands, forests and fields in the south west. Most of the lakes in this land of 1,000 lakes were carved in the local clay during the Middle Ages by monks to farm fresh fish in a region far from the sea. Agriculture and sheep farming, are still carried on in a working landscape within the park’s boundaries.
The Brenne’s main town of Le Blanc is surrounded by fruit orchards and market gardens. Rosnay visitor centre (maison de parc) has slide shows in English and a resident naturalist on hand at week-ends peak season to answer your questions. You can find information on bridle, cycle and hiking trails and learn about conservation and traditional fish farming - including dates to watch modern fish farming methods of which require lake emptying each October. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 28 12 13 www.parc-naturel-brenne.fr/
The Cherine Nature Reserve at St-Michel-en-Brenne is 145 hectares of natural habitats characteristic of the Brenne created to protect less common species such as the black tern, small European pond tortoise, rare orchids and water violets. Observe deer and boar roaming freely from 2 public hides which are permanently open. For more information, contact: (00 33) 2 54 28 11 02. A new Maison de la Nature was built on the edge of Turtle (Cistude) Lake at St-Michel-en-Brenne in 2002. Guides here help visitors to get good use from the paths and observatories and there are permanent telescopes and binoculars pointing out across the lake.