La tourbière du Peuil
Another weekend, another hike. In this case, not even a hike, more like a good walk. A beautiful walk though. Perfect also for the type of weather we had. It was quite warm, but really smoggy, as you can see on the picture below. So the view wasn’t really perfect. And if you hike towards the top of a mountain, it’s always a bit of a disappointment when you can’t enjoy the view.
That’s why todays walk at La tourbière du Peuil, near Claix, was perfect. It wasn’t a walk towards the top of a mountain. The idea was not to enjoy the far away view, but to enjoy the near surroundings. The flowers, the green shades of the trees and grasses, the loud frogs, the emptiness and the mire itself.
Actually, before I go on, do you know what a mire is? If you aren’t a native English speaker, probably you don’t. I didn’t, at least. A mire is a what the french call a tourbière. Another word that I didn’t know, as my French isn’t that good. I looked it up, to understand what it is. I actually at first thought it was a swamp as it was pretty wet, but apparently it isn’t. A mire is wetland, yes, but a swamp is characterised by the trees that grow on wetland. With a mire it’s mostly grasses that you see. Grasses that grow on peat.
That was clearly the case here in the wetland area. Grasses, lots of grasses everywhere. And now, you see, I even lied before. A tourbière is actually a more specific type of mire wetland. It’s a bog, which is one of the two types of mire. Pfff. Complicated. Doesn’t matter. The good thing is that with entering this nature reserve, you can find a lot of information about all the characteristics of this area at the gate. A very rare sight in France, very much appreciated though!
Because it’s a natural reserve, you aren’t allowed to walk in the bog itself. You actually walk around it, to protect the area. Peatland is in danger all over the world as far as I can understand as it grows really slow and needs very specific circumstances to grow. At the same time people like to use peat in some areas of the world to improve the soil structure of their veg patch. Peat is therefore being ‘mined’ in some parts of the world (mostly in the Baltic states, I believe) and transported to other parts. The original peatlands therefore are disappearing, and with that, we are losing a very specific type of nature. And we aren’t only losing nature, but apparently it also fuels climate change when the peat is taken above water level. I saw a good BBC documentary a long time ago on this subject, but I can’t find it anymore, so I can’t link to it. The most important thing I remembered from that documentary is that you should never use potting soil which contains peat. Always go for #peatfree. Obviously this won’t solve the whole problem, as peatland is also being dug up for other reasons as well, but everything helps.
So much for the long introduction. On the pictures above and below you can see part of the wetlands, but also the surrounding forest area, where you do most of the walking. It was a very enjoyable walk as it was totally different from other places we have walked before. It was also very quiet. We saw only one other person that crossed our path during the whole walk. It was also very accessible and it’s was possible to walk different distances. In the area that you see on the picture below, we were surprised by a ver loud concert given by the frogs. It was really impressive to experience. I wanted to film them and record the sound, but they stopped when I started to film. Boo.
When we drove away from this place, Eduard and I were talking about why we love France. People always ask us what we appreciate about France. French people ask, but also Dutchies. We decided on the way back from La tourbière du Peuil that amongst the many things we appreciate about France, the nature is probably the thing that moves us most. There is so much to see, to experience and enjoy. We’ve only just started to do so.