Bay of Somme

The Bay of Somme is a member of the ‘Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World’, with its expanses of open water, marshes, dunes... Discover one of the best place of birdwatching in France !

It is one of France’s major sites for migrating birds. Open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows make up a landscape where water and dry land seem to merge. The Bay of Somme has particularly wide mouth into the English Channel offers exceptional vistas that are constantly changing with the tides and the seasons: monochromes in grey, beige or white, vast skies, light effects reminiscent of opal and mother-of-pearl, and walks that will leave you light-headed from the bracing sea air.

 

A real geography Lesson

The Picardy Coast extends over 44 miles from the mouth of the Bresle river in the south, to the mouth of the Authie river in the north.
The Somme river,winding and slow flowing, empties into the English channel forming a wide indentation in the coastline measuring 72 km². The estuary extends from Pointe du Hourdel in the south to Pointe de Saint-Quentin in the north.
There is a large fluctuation in the sea level due to the amplitude of the tides. At low tide the sea can go out as far as 14 km from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The way in which animals, plants and human live in this bay area is greatly influenced by the tides. This area can be divided into three distinct zones:

 

> The lower part of the estuary from which the water recedes only during the spring tides,

> the middle area called "la slikke" (area covered and uncovered by the sea twice daily regardless of the season) is composed of mud flats which provide feeding ground for wading birds and several species of ducks,

> the area just beyond the bay, le "schorre" known locally as "mollières", is covered in vegetation. The salt meadow sheep can graze here peacefully, as these meadows are only flooded during the spring tides.

Today, the Bay of Somme is known world-wide for its ecological wealth. Its northern section has been listed as a nature reserve. It is a member of the Club "The Most Beautiful Bay in the world". It also meets the requirements of the Ramsar world-wide agreement concerning wetlands.

To get the most out of this spectacular wilderness, we strongly recommend contacting a local guide.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

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