1st May 2022
La réserve naturelle nationale de la vallée d’Eyne rises through pine forests up into montane pastures and runs south to the Spanish border. Known as the ‘Valley of the Flowers’ this is one of the great sites of Pyrenean botany with a long history of surveys since the 18th century and today over 500 species are listed. A rapid walk up and down the long valley under a hot sun is not the best way to see very much but the valley itself is captivating with long views to the lowlands in the north and, when the small limestone outcrop known as Roc de Colom is reached, there is a fine view of the high mountains on the Spanish border.
A migrant pied flycatcher is in the pines and duke of burgundy fritillaries are abundant high up by the stream and on the edge of the pines. The most colourful are the small calcareous seepage fens where a range of alpine plants are found and appear to survive the trampling by cattle herds that will soon be walked up the valley to graze the summer pastures.