Saint Marcouf De Lisle
©Saint Marcouf De Lisle|P lecarpentier
Unmissable in La Manche

The Cotentin Marshes Regional Nature Park

The Cotentin marshes, a regional nature park, a bird reserve!

Want a change of scenery? Then come and discover The Cotentin Marshes: a territory between two seas, varied landscapes!

Between marshes, bocage, coastline and moors, the fauna and flora develop and diversify, to the delight of nature lovers!

Located in Normandy at the hinge of the departments of Manche and Calvados, in the heart of the triangle “Caen, Le Mont Saint Michel and Cherbourg”, the Parc des Marais covers an area of 110 municipalities on 147,000 hectares.

The regional nature park of the Cotentin and Bessin marshes was created in 1991, due to the importance of its wetland. Since that date, it has benefited from the “Regional Nature Park” label awarded by the State.

Marais Hiver Entre Gorges Et Méautis
©Marais Hiver Entre Gorges Et Méautis

As the seasons change, the marshes change their face:

In winter: the sky and water merge, the marshes are covered with water. They are said to “whiten” and the expression Cotentin peninsula then takes on its full meaning : it is the white marsh. The marsh becomes a huge lake where we can distinguish neither vegetation nor agricultural plots: only winter birds are kings there … a breathtaking spectacle!

In spring: the meadows emerge from the flooded areas, the rivers find their beds again, plant life is reborn. In the vast meadows, the fish give way to birds, but also to cows, sheep and horses that are put out to pasture.

In summer: it is the hay mowing and at the end of the season it is the maintenance of the channels and ditches. The valleys are characterized by a color chart favored by agricultural practices offering a variety of textures.

In autumn: as soon as the first rains come, the cattle find the high country. Several tens, even hundreds of thousands of birds transit through the Nature Park to reach their winter quarters.

Fauna and flora

The numerous hiking trails will introduce you to a rich and varied biodiversity. You will be charmed to meet cows, horses, donkeys, birds and dragonflies, but you will be even more charmed when you come across storks hunting in the meadows interspersed with limes (= ditches) during the fine weather. These birds stop in the marshes during their migratory journey because these lands offer a real pantry! The Cotentin Marshes Park is a unique site to observe migratory birds. A multitude of birds nest here year-round, but the October season is the most interesting for observing the migratory species that come to winter. In the heart of the Baie des Veys, lives a colony of calf seals.

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