The biodiversity ? “It’s the story of the XNUMXth century”! And on this subject, we promise you that the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park knows the song particularly well! Its territory is made up of a wide variety of landscapes, conducive to the development of astonishing, eclectic and abundant flora. Forests, valleys with chalky slopes, rivers, ponds, moors and pastures are all natural environments teeming with rare and exceptional species, both animal and plant. Put on your binoculars and sharpen your senses: it’s time to explore…

The mysteries of a green setting

The Montagne de Reims forest massif covers nearly 40% of the Park’s territory. Mainly composed of so-called “deciduous” trees (beeches, oaks, hornbeams, alders, etc.), it is home to extremely rare flora and fauna, even unique in the world! Among them, the large population of twisted beeches, unmissable and enigmatic Scythe of Verzy. Another example ? Alisier de Reims (Sorbus remensis): this micro-endemic species is close to Alisier de Fontainebleau, present at his side in Montagne de Reims.

Mostly humid, the forest plateau is also full of ponds resulting from ancient quarrying of millstones, shell holes or even ancestral pastoral activity. These water points allow the existence of numerous species, which constitute the specificity of the territory. As you walk, keep your eyes peeled and be careful where you step! Maybe you will come across a great crested newt, Spotted newt, a Fire salamander, Yellow-bellied Ringer or an Grenouille Agile, which are all protected species…

The Bats, they too, will not be far from you! In total, around twenty species have been inventoried in Montagne de Reims. Many use forest paths, the canopy or the undergrowth to hunt. Some of them, such as the European Barbastelle, the Scoop-eared Mouse or even the Eared Bats, give birth in colonies in roost trees (split branches, holes, etc.).

Of course, other mammals live in this large massif! This is the case of Roe, Sanglier, Red deer, Forest cat, but also Raccoon. The latter is one of the invasive exotic species: a study was therefore carried out to better understand its spatial and feeding behavior. We remind you that it is prohibited to feed and collect an invasive exotic species.

Rich open environments

30 ! This is the number of Natural areas of ecological fauna and flora interest (ZNIEFF) that includes the Montagne de Reims. Enough to clearly illustrate the diversity of species and natural habitats present there…

Among its open environments, the dry lawns develop on a little more than 20 hectares scattered across the territory, mainly on the edge of the forest. These former sheep pastures, also called “patis”, form herbaceous areas poor in nutrients: real 4-star hotels for the flourishing of flora as strange as it is exceptional! Let us cite in particular the ravishing wild orchids, or the charming Aster amelle...

For their part, meadows (and more particularly bocage meadows) are rare in Montagne de Reims. These surfaces support specific fauna and flora, such as Red-backed Shrike, Northern stonechat and the emblematic Owl of Athena. Mainly present in the Tardenois, this little owl with golden eyes nests in old hollow trees or in old barns. Participatory monitoring of this species is carried out every 4 years, in order to protect it as it should! The next one will take place in March-April 2024: are you joining us?

Remarkable geodiversity

The Montagne de Reims has not always been the one we know today: icy or tropical, submerged or dried up, it has changed face several times over the centuries! 70 million years old, it represents a real geological treasure composed of chalk, sand, clays and limestone…

Its soil is in fact made up of several layers of minerals which were deposited one after the other, millennium after millennium. This diversity has gradually shaped the landscapes, making the Montagne de Reims a mosaic of agricultural plains and forests bordered by hillsides, on which a fabulous vineyard was born.

Shell cellar, Fleury-la-Rivière

In its limestone layer, do not be surprised to unearth fossils species that once lived in salt water: sea urchins, belemnites, sponges, or even the famous campanile giganteum, this giant snail that can reach more than 40 cm in length! Yes, a true paradise for budding geologists, the Montagne de Reims has many surprises in store for you. On the path discovery of Mailly-Champagne, set off now to discover this naturally sparkling heritage...Happy exploring!

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