Land of a thousand lakes”; a trip to the Brenne, in central France, is like taking a step backwards in time.

The small country roads have little traffic and a stop on the side of one, almost anywhere, allows for the observation of interesting wildlife. The mosaic of habitats within quite a small area: lakes, meadows, forest, hedgerows, heath…and the lack of intensive agriculture has led to the area becoming a paradise for the naturalist. Many rare and interesting species that are difficult to find farther north can be common here. In the spring (April to mid July) many lakes have nesting Whiskered Tern, Black-necked Grebe, Purple Heron, Little Bittern… hedgerows are full of Melodious Warbler, Red-backed Shrike… woodland can be searched for Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and a look upwards may well reveal Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Black Stork…and it’s not only birds, the area is very good for Dragonflies (50 species), Butterflies (100 species), Reptiles, Orchids… and very much more. There are interesting species throughout the year, not only in spring and summer. If it’s Cranes you’re looking for, they’re present from mid-October to mid March, but a visit in mid November or late February can provide the sight of thousands together.

Within an easy day’s train journey from London, a few days in the Brenne can make for a real break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, provide a relaxing holiday whilst the visitor will see a lot of wildlife.

What to see and where

Top birding sites

Interest varies according to the season

Réserve nationale de Chérine

Réserve Terres et Etangs de Brenne

Etang de Bellebouche

Communaux de Rosnay

Top bird species

Whiskered tern

Black-necked grebe

Purple heron

Black stork

Red-backed shrike

Short-toed eagle

Download the Brenne
“Which birds when” list

Other wildlife

50 species of dragonflies

100 species of butterflies

European pond turtle



Getting there

Travel by plane



Travel by train

London – Lille – Poitiers

London – Paris – Poitiers

Other train stations nearby:



Local transport

Car rental from:

Poitiers, Chateauroux
and Limoges train stations

Poitiers and Limoges airports

Local bus network

Bicyles for rent

Useful tips

Plan to stay a week

London – Avignon direct

Allow 30 - 40 km/day

Nearest airports:

Tourist information

Destination Brenne

Tourist information offices in:

Mézières-en-Brenne, Azay-le-Ferron, Rosnay, Le Blanc, Bélâbre,

Local food

Goat’s cheese
Smoked carp – Wine

Shop for local produce
at the Maison du Parc

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