40. This is the number of candles on the cake the Pinail Nature Reserve in 2020. For the occasion, the latter offered itself a brand new discovery trail. So this summer, I took advantage of the anniversary of this biodiversity hotspot to organize a mother-son morning around nature. Because like many young people of his generation, Hugo is concerned about the environment and has been interested in ecology since his childhood. The icing on the cake of this family outing: the presence of a scientific guide to answer my teenager's many questions.

Early in the morning on the paths… of Pinail

Yann Sellier arranged to meet us in the Réserve car park, in Vouneuil-sur-Vienne. This town is located between Poitiers and Châtellerault, one hour from the Brenne Regional Natural Park and one and a half hours from the Marais Poitevin.

Yann works for the association GEREPI in charge of site management, scientific monitoring, reception and public awareness. In his explorer's outfit which, who knows why, reminds me of the drawings of the artist Glen Baxter, the project manager begins by telling us the history of Pinail.

Former royal forest, the nature reserve extends over 142 hectares. Its unique lunar landscapes have been shaped by man. Writings prove that the millstone quarry existed as early as 850. A thousand years later, the extraction activity stopped and gave way to a mosaic of moors riddled with at least 6000 ponds.

Today, more than 2500 animal, plant and fungal species live in peat bogs and other wet meadows: dragonflies, birds of prey, carnivorous plants, butterflies, frogs, orchids, sheep, deer, algae, snakes, mushrooms, etc. Some are particularly rare, like the Azuré des mouillères, a butterfly which only lays its eggs on the pneumonanthe gentian.

After this presentation which whetted our appetite for exploration, we set off on the 2020 version of the trail. The marked route spreads its wings over two kilometers, punctuated by observatories and open discovery areas. The immersion lasts approximately two hours, between real and virtual. Because on each of the nine information panels, a QR code to flash links to a new video. My teenager immediately takes out his smartphone and we view images that are as magnificent as they are captivating.

Edouard SALMON – Sky Studio


On the occasion of 40 years, welcoming people with disabilities. To access the entire route, GEREPI lends joëlettes (all-terrain mono-wheels). In dry weather, the first part of the trail is accessible by conventional wheelchair.

This new digital interface allows you to have a complementary approach to the classic visit: we fly above the reserve, we dive into the ponds, we witness the birth of a dragonfly, we follow the passage of the fire over the moors... In this regard, Hugo and I learned that prescribed burns are essential for the conservation of species. Surprising, isn't it?

Passionate and fascinating, our guide alternates between catching insects in his butterfly net, lifting stones to show us the fauna hidden there, and juicy anecdotes about carnivorous plants and slave ants... Noting Hugo's enthusiasm , he informs us that, in addition to guided tours, thematic nature outings take place free of charge every month.

In March, the Amphibians outing was a great success with children. It takes place at night. Participants are equipped with a headlamp. Using a landing net, we introduce them to frogs, toads and even colorful newts!

I could come back to Pinail dozens of times without getting tired of it. In each season, in each hour of the day, what we see, hear or breathe constitutes a new experience. The ideal place for a family nature walk!

• Course with free and open access throughout the year
• Access: follow the road signs to the Pinail Nature Reserve car park in Vouneuil-sur-Vienne
• “The little Pinail explorer” (€5), a 64-page booklet with the 150 most easily recognizable species, games and observation notebooks. To be obtained in advance to prepare for the visit.
Information: 05 49 02 33 47

La Graine Fleurie, a leading nursery

Boosted by my visit to the nature reserve, I decide to push on to Monthoiron, ten minutes away. During my trip to Pleumartin last June, several of my interlocutors praised the merits of La Graine Fleurie, present at their Sunday market (from March to June and from September to November).

So I took the opportunity to meet Virginie Azile, the horticulturist at the head of this establishment since 2001. At the exit of the village of Monthoiron, on the road towards La Roche-Posay, we can see the greenhouses. We enter and I am surprised by their extent. Among aromatic plants, perennials, rose bushes and fruit shrubs, Virginie is active, as if tireless.

While I eye the bedding plants and vegetable plants, Hugo asks about the size of the installations. “ 1100m2 covered and one hectare outdoors », replies the boss of The Flower Seed. Even if a community employee is making purchases that day, Virginie specifies that she sells her flowers and trees mainly to individuals.

The range of choices naturally depends on the seasons. But if I believe its loyal customers under the halls of Pleumartin, the quality is always there. Whether you plan to grow eggplants, gherkins, or flower your garden with camellias or geraniums, I bet this address will make you happy.

The Flower Seed

10, rue des Champs Jaulins in Monthoiron
Open 7 days a week from March to June, Monday to Saturday in autumn, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in summer (except Sunday).
Phone: 05 49 86 42 02

All the lights are green for a nature break in Grand Châtellerault!


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