From heathlands to meadows...
After the last ice age, the Poitou region was covered by forests of oak and beech. However, human activities and fires have resulted in significant deforestation, turning the Montmorillon area into a “heath”. This term describes both the Broom Heather (Erica Scoparia) and the traditional Poitou landscape where it is most commonly found. In fact, only certain species have evolved in order to flourish in this poor, highly acidic soil which is subject to extreme annual variations in moisture content: these are Broom Heather, Gorse and Moor Grass.
The subsoil is composed of a special kind of clay which is renowned for its many properties: Montmorillonite. It has a high degree of capillarity and absorbency and is therefore perfectly adapted to environmental variations. Despite its apparent monotony, this landscape has a wealth of flora and fauna. Rare species of orchids and birds can be seen: the Dartford Warbler, which is threatened with extinction, and the Nightjar whose evening flights have made it the subject of many legends. In addition to these particular species, many birds of prey can also be observed (Montagu’s Harrier and the Hen-harrier). A long time ago, our ancestors developed livestock farming in order to survive in this hostile environment unsuited to cultivation. Consequently, over the centuries, the peasant farmers used fire to manage their environment (burning) and also made use of the heath (in the construction of sheep pens, outbuildings and fences) to create the plots of land that they needed for grazing their cattle. Today, most of the heath has disappeared; remaining areas are listed as protected zones (the Montmorillon military camp and the Lussac Forest); however, the place names in the surrounding area provide strong evidence of the former characteristics of this environment.
This circuit is one of 16 circuits known collectively as "Les Brandes des Fontenelles", located in the Moulismes, Plaisance, Saulgé and Persac area.
- Difference in height
- 49 m
- Points of interest
1 Ecomusée du Montmorillonnais
- 49 meters of difference in height