Azé’s sensitive natural spaces are waiting for you!

On July 5, André Acari, president of the Saône-et-Loire department, and Catherine Amiot, vice-president in charge of the environment, inaugurated the 6th sensitive natural site in Ajête.

After the sensitive natural areas of the Marais de Massilly, the Pont du Roi de Saint-Emiland, the Marais de Montseux-l’Etoile, the Etang de Ponteaux and the Lande de Nancel in Roche Vines, it is now the ENS d’Azé that opens its doors to the public.

Part of the mission of the department of Saône-et-Loire is to preserve and promote particularly sensitive heritage and allow the public to discover and appreciate its resources. In this context, through the departmental plan for sensitive natural areas revised in 2020, three new ENS complete the offer in Saône-et-Loire.

Among these, the ENS d’Azé with a course entitled “On the roof of the caves”, part of which is a “classified site” by the state. The sensitive natural area (ENS) of the Azé Caves and its discovery route is located in the heart of the Maconnais Mountains, ENS d’Azé, characterized by the presence of a wild forest in the west with wooded hills to the north and the recently “renaturalized” Mouze river sector to the south. Plants, animals and plants remarkable for the arid environment, mysteries and natural resources punctuate a landscape and marked trail of about 1.5 km.

An educational journey

10 educational stops explain the fauna and flora of this prehistoric highland of the Quaternary, with the earliest presence of humans (about 300,000 years) and the presence of big cats, bears and cave lions (about 200,000 years). This route is complemented by an elaborate “Green Treasure Hunt” leaflet available in paper version on site (town hall, reception building) and downloadable from the website of the Department of Saône-et-Loire.

The “roof of the caves” discovery trail focuses primarily on wooded hills. The 1.5 km long course, based on the theme of exploration and discovery, is quite physical, complementing the caves. It will address various information related to forest and its ecosystems, vegetation, fauna, landscape evolution and nature’s sound environment.

The investment for the Saône-et-Loire department amounts to more than €55,000.

The trail is open

At the ONF’s suggestion, course construction and protection work is required to clear the false acacia, a particularly invasive tree. This intervention is carried out by the Heritage Agency.

Belvedere development: A belvedere of about 120 m², fitted ten years ago, did not meet the criteria for protecting the public or the adaptation of the classified site.

Tim Boursier Mouzenot, landscaper commissioned by the department, therefore recommended the lightest development possible without disfiguring the site. Furniture and signs.

The furniture and signs are designed with an environmental conservation objective in mind so that they blend into the natural environment in accordance with the spirit of the classified site.

10 interpretation panels of various sizes and about ten signposts were installed.

This course, designed entirely by the Saône-et-Loire department, has been shaped and built by the PicBois company.

Guided tours

As with other departmental ENS, various guided tours will be offered with nature guides from the department or the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), as part of a partnership with the department. These free guided tours, for the general public and schoolchildren, are organized throughout the year during the summer season and for groups upon request. This year, two visits from the ENS (animator of the Saône-et-Loire department) are scheduled for July 28 and August 3.

Information and Registration: 03 85 39 55 00 –

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