Still unknown to the general public, the Arjuzanx National Reserve is one of the most beautiful natural sites in the Landes. This former mining site is home to an exceptional natural heritage, including the largest population of Grey Cranes in France. This formidable reservoir of biodiversity is also a privileged place to swim or practice a nautical activity with family or friends. Ready for a return to your roots?
An atypical and unique natural area in the Landes
Located in the heart of the Landes forest, straddling four Landes communes (Arjuzanx, Morcenx, Rion-des-Landes and Villenave), the Arjuzanx National Reserve covers some 2,700 hectares. Classified as Natura 2000, the site is made up of 5 lakes, created by a brown coal mine exploited between 1950 and 1990. The ecological rehabilitation work has given rise to very contrasting landscapes (water bodies, dry grasslands, forest and dune environments), an extremely rich biotope and diversified habitats with high heritage value. It is one of the most beautiful sites for observing fauna and flora in France.
A great adventure
A beautiful adventure in the land of the Landes' fauna and flora
Nature having reclaimed its rights, the Landes reserve is now the largest French wintering site for grey cranes. Each winter, more than 20,000 cranes find shelter and food there, visible from the reserve's observatory. Among the 180 species of birds that frequent the islets of Arjuzanx, one can also observe winter teals, pitchous warblers, reed harriers.
The Arjuzanx Nature Reserve is also home to mammals, reptiles, insects and amphibians, some easy to observe and others rarer: European otters, roe deer, hares, squirrels, Cistudes turtles, butterflies (Fadet des Laîches), as well as 8 species of bat. All year round, the reserve organises guided walks to discover the wild fauna, fun and educational workshops with naturalist guides or even introductory courses in animal photography.
The reserve also organises a number of workshops for the public.
Flora-wise, there are several plant species listed as endemic such as the Bog Lycopod and the Small-flowered Serapias. At the heart of the reserve, the Miocene Garden recreates a submerged forest and concentrates a great diversity of deciduous trees, oaks, liquidambars, beeches, maples, ginkgos... Plants that lived here several million years ago have been planted. All that's missing are the dinosaurs!
Animations and outdoor activities
The Arjuzanx National Reserve offers many outdoor activities by the water or in the wilderness. You can practice hiking (mountain biking, walking, horse riding...) on more than 27 km of itineraries. It is possible to hire bicycles at the Maison des promenades. Recently, the Arjuzanx Reserve has opened an orientation course at Menjuc. Fishing enthusiasts are not to be outdone and will be able to make some great catches on the 150 hectares of Lake Arjuzanx, classified as 2nd category fish (pike, pike-perch, roach, bream...).
Swimming and water activities
At the heart of the site, the lake of Arjuzanx offers 400 hectares accessible to the public. The leisure centre of Arjuzanx allows you to swim in the lake, which is supervised during the summer, and to relax on a lovely sandy beach. The great depth of the lake as well as the continuous renewal by multiple springs offer an exceptional water quality. Several activities are possible: catamaran, boat, paddle, canoe, pedal boat... During the summer season, a snack bar provides refreshments and snacks. A great way to spend a day with friends or family and discover the lake while having fun.
- Access: Route de la Forêt, 40110 Morcenx-la-Nouvelle (50 km from the 4-star Eurosol campsite)
- Open all year round, free access. Marked discovery trails accessible to people with reduced mobility.
- All year round, exhibitions at the site house, guided walks and guided tours with the reserve's naturalist guides (registration required).
- More info: www.reserve-arjuzanx.fr
photo@Anne and Saturnino Miranda, pixabay