- Fly from London to Bergerac where we meet our guides. From here it is about a half-hour drive down to our riverside hotel in Mauzac-et-Grand-Castang. We should have time for a short late afternoon walk along the riverbank near the hotel.
- Accommodation: Mauzac, 7-nights on full board basis.
- We start high above the River Dordogne at a viewpoint looking out over the valley cut through Cretaceous limestone hills. The morning is a good time to hear the bird song and the sunny slope is a great place for wildflowers with a range of warmth-loving species. As the temperatures warm up we hope to see a variety of butterflies. Later we move on to a nearby woodland where a clearing is home to a remarkable diversity of wildflowers and butterflies.
- Bessède is an old forest but has a history of management which has created a range of forest habitats both coniferous and deciduous. We start the day in a heathland and woodland area concentrating on birds and then tour the forest looking at key places for butterflies and wildflowers often by small wetlands: streams, ponds or ditches.
- The Beune valley is an especially rich nature area with wet and dry meadows, reed marsh and surrounding forest. In the morning we will discover the reed marsh and forest and after lunch the wet meadows. Our route takes in the Vézère valley with it's dramatic cliffs and we may have time to stop at a site or two on route.
This area has a superb range of dry Jurassic limestone habitats with outstanding raptor, butterfly and wildflower populations. We'll start on a stony grassland with scrub fringed by forest and move on discover scree slopes, rocky areas and arable fields with unusual plants.
- Another great area of remnant 'causse' habitat - i.e. dry limestone grasslands with scrub. In the morning we concentrate on butterflies in a magical dry valley where we regularly find 30 species in June. Later in the day we are high on a plateau above the pretty Ceou valley where wildflowers abound including more rare arable 'weeds'.
- This arable farming area harbours a surprisingly rich wildlife community. We start in a mosaic of fields and hedges with interesting birds and continue on this theme amongst larger arable fields with pockets of wilder land. After lunch we will concentrate on rich butterfly and wildflower sites which pepper the area.
- We should have time for a brief morning trip after breakfast and before returning to Bergerac for our flight home.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We are based at the cosy riverside Hotel Le Barrage at Mauzac, just upstream from Lalinde, an excellent venue with comfortable rooms, good food and excellent hosts. All rooms are en suite.
All main meals are included. Dordogne is noted for its excellent cuisine. Breakfast and dinner will be taken at the hotel and lunches in auberges, to sample the local cuisine ‘du terroir,’ or as picnics, depending upon the weather.
This is a good time for seeing the summer visitors in Dordogne, as well as the resident species as nesting is well advanced.
- Honey buzzard
- Golden oriole
- Turtle dove
The region has around 120 butterfly species recorded, twice the number of the UK. They are at peak numbers and diversity now, including several rarities.
- Lesser purple emperor
- Woodland grayling
- Spotted fritillary
- Short-tailed blue
The Dordogne has an unexpectedly diverse flora due to the rich mosaic of habitats and because the region lies between different climatic zones. June is the peak flowering time for many species.
- Blue lettuce
- Red helleborine
- White rockrose
- Curry plant
The area is dominated by the classic Dordogne oak forest and limestone meadows, cut through by the majestic River Dordogne. Our tour also takes us into a number of other interesting habitats including river cliffs, arable plains, heathlands and wetlands. The region is studded with pretty honey-coloured villages, ancient churches, chateaux and caves.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Bergerac – London.
Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.