For Nature fans
- 48thRAMSAR SITE
- 300HECTARES OF 'HORTILLONNAGES'
SOMME VALLEY FIRST RAMSAR VALLEY
The Somme recently acquired a second RAMSAR site, after the Baie de Somme obtained the label in 1998. There are 48 such sites in France. This newly listed site covers an area of 13,100 hectares comprising the lower Somme valley and its main tributary, the Avre, plus adjacent marshes and peatlands, on a strip almost 200km long, i.e. one of the largest peatland areas in north west Europe.
The Chalet de Blanquetaque between the Somme valley and the Baie (at Port-le-Grand to be precise) is even the first Ramsar centre in the world, specialising in wetland management.
OUR FINEST VIEWPOINTS
The best views over the valley, its lakes and marshes can be had from 'belvédères' (specially equipped viewpoints) of which there are 30. They have interpretive panels that help you understand the landscape you are looking at and give details of the history of the places and of the men and women who shaped them, be they peat diggers or writers … Our favourite viewpoints are those at the top of 'larris' (south-facing limestone uplands redolent of the Mediterranean with orchids, thyme plants and lizards). From the top of these uplands you can view the valley as if it were in Cinemascope, a mosaic of lakes in different shades of green.
Our top :
- Montagne de Frise
- Belvédère de Vaux
- Marais des Cavins à Bourdon
- Le Camp César à Méricourt-sur-Somme
- Les étangs de la Barette à Corbie
Immerse yourself in nature
The Somme valley has a wealth of gardens – from the peace garden recently opened in the old moat of Péronne castle to the Herb garden tucked away in the medieval ramparts of Saint-Valery. Eutychia garden beside the Historial (World War I museum) is a lush leafy haven with picnic tables set amidst wild grasses and shaded by fruit trees.
Amiens is classed as the 7th greenest city in France, mainly due to its 300 hectares of floating gardens ( the Hortillonnages). There are however other gardens dotted around the capital of the Somme, the largest being Saint-Pierre park (22 hectares). Be sure to visit the delightful botanical gardens with their listed period greenhouses, used by the city's gardeners to grow the plants and flowers that will be used in flower beds all over the city. There is also the Jardin des Vertueux, created by the landscape gardener, Paco, with many different features – landscape and artistic creations, hidden cabins, boat trips.
There are also parks in Abbeville: Le Carmel around an old monastery, La Bouvaque wetland with its blue springs and Emonville garden noted for its hundred-year-old trees and carpet bedding (mosaiculture).