From north to south, the territory has marshes, revealing vast expanses of water. These wetlands are of great ecological wealth. They are also characterized by exceptional biodiversity and play a major role.

Salt marshes and fresh marshes

The Seudre marshes come from former salt marshes thus converted into clearings for the refining of Marennes-Oléron oysters. Those found to the south, towards Meschers, remain open. The Gironde estuary floods them regularly during high tides. These wet meadows are home to the rearing and grazing of salt-meadow lambs, the Lamb of the Estuary.

Salt meadows of the Gironde estuary

The St. Augustine wetlands cover an area of ​​more than 1500 ha. This sweet swamp is part of a larger set also including those of the peninsula of Arvert and Maths. Today it is a protected natural area where walking paths allow you to better understand great biological diversity places. Rich in diverse flora and fauna, it is thus a refuge for many species of amphibians and birds.

Did you know?

All the marshes found on our territory are originally salt marshes. Protected by dykes, commonly known to us as “trimmed”, the marshes allow brackish water to enter through locks, the “varagnes”. They make it possible to maintain the good state of water by purifying runoff water, to better manage floods, to store CO2 or to promote market gardening and livestock farming.

Natura 2000 zone classification

Destination Royan Atlantique counts 3 Natura 2000 sites identified for the rarity or fragility of wild species and their natural habitats. THE Natura 2000 network aims to protect nature and also to promote the maintenance of the fauna and flora of classified sites. It also takes into account the socio-economic and cultural issues of the territory. 

The fresh and salt marshes are an integral part of these sites because they are home to a great diversity of habitats of interest and protected animal species: bats, mammals, butterflies, reptiles, birds, dunes, wetlands, etc.

  • "Marsh of the Seudre" and "Marsh and estuary of the Seudre, island of Oléron",
  • "Presqu'île d'Arvert" and "Bonne anse, Bréjat and Saint-Augustin marshes",
  • "Marsh and cliffs of the hillsides of Gironde" and "Estuary of the Gironde, marshes of the north shore".
Claires ostréicoles dans les marais de la Seudre
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Oyster beds in the Seudre marshes

These former salt marshes are now used to refine Marennes-Oléron oysters.

a typical flora

The plants are differentiated according to their height of establishment. Several species are thus characteristic:

  • If we bend down a lot: the samphire is the emblematic plant of salty areas. It feeds on the salt of the Seudre during high tides. A kind of green bean, it is eaten plain, freshly picked or as a condiment.
  • If we bend down a little: the santonina, a silver-coloured sagebrush, is found just above fully submerged areas. It was the plant of the Santons, the Celtic tribe that came to occupy our region, Saintonge. It was used for local absinthe recipes. 
  • Finally, if we don't really bend down: the wild mustard covers the landscape with yellow in the spring. After flowering, seeds are formed to be used ground as a poultice or sauce.

Reedbeds and peat meadows occupy the soft spaces. There are thus two species of heritage interest, threatened by the drying up:

  • THEmarsh hottonia whose white flowers stand on rigid stems 40 cm above the water.
  • La ophioglossus-leaved buttercup reminiscent of the buttercup with its yellow flowers and fairly short petals.

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