Vallée de la Renaudie et Les Tourbières de Vendoire

The narrow valley at the Nature Reserve along the river Renaudie is parched. A small herd of fine Charente cattle are supplied water from a bowser. The thistles are thick with seed but the last flowers are full of a wide variety of bees.

The river is bone dry but there are dragonflies. The only moisture is found on fresh cowpats and holly blues visit in large numbers to take salts.

A surprise is the first autumn squill which is along the trackside with Depford pinks. In a nearby forest, a pair of hobbies is shouting and a food-pass has probably jsut taken place; the young should be out of the nest in late August

At Les Tourbieres de Vendoire, the evening light turns the reserve into a Japanese garden. A kingfisher lights up the waterside. Large ragondin or coypu swim without a care, busy duck diving in the middle of one pond for plant roots.

Blue devil’s bit scabious is now flowering in damp depressions and shaded roadsides with the pink heathers fading on the drier ground; both appear to be important nectar source for late summer insects.

In the Double Forest, on a dry stream bed edged by the other late flowering species, including purple loosestrife, hemp agrimony and wild mint, the butterflies assemble to take salts; a dwindling oasis of life in the parched forest.

Deep in the forest there is a large sign protesting at the prospect of a wind farm. Although a working forest, the forest is a relative wilderness. The impacts on wildlife are likely to be limited; there is evidence from studies elsewhere that bats do collide with turbine blades especially along migratory corridors. The principal impact therefore is on the landscape of woodland, small hamlets and pasture fields.

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