In the East, in the Aube, on the borders of the Paris Basin and in the south of the Champagne-Ardennes Region, lies a vast mysterious land where water, earth and trees gave birth to a singular territory, fruit of nature and men. The Forêt d'Orient Regional Nature Park is not an animal reserve, nor an open-air museum or a botanical sanctuary, but a living space, open to all, where preservation of the environment rhymes with development of the territory. This legendary territory shelters immense reservoirs nestled in the heart of deep forests , which give joy to lovers of nature, culture, sports and leisure activities... Welcome to the Forêt d'Orient Regional Nature Park.
The creation of vast reservoirs has without doubt considerably reinforced the ornithological interest of this part of the Champagne wetlands, already a favoured migratory stop by water birds because of the presence of many ponds and vast zones of humid natural meadow.
Over 250 species of birds have been observed so far on the lakes and their forest boundaries, among which some prestigious feathered hosts, for whom the Champagne wetlands brings the only French site for regular wintering: the white tailed eagle, Bewick and Whooper swans ...
Place of refuge also for the thousands of Cranes who stopover, a few score of Bean and Greylag geese... , falcons and other osprey... The deep forests also shelter some remarkable birds (goshawks, woodpeckers...) but it is especially the big fauna (deer, roebuck and boar) that makes it important.... The Fauna in the Orient is rich, no doubt about it : hairs, feathers and scales..., claws, beaks and teeth.
In the corner of a path, you may be lucky and get to observe Sir Fox, his accomplice the Badger or Lady Marten...
A diversfied flora
Plant lovers will be delighted ...several hundreds of species can be found here, living happily, from the most common to the rarest, from the most aquatic to the most earth bound from the most edible ... to the most beautiful and poisonous.
Besides the very diverse and well developed forest associations in the major part of the territory, (oak plantations, hornbeam plantations, oak. alder-ash plantations.),the Forêt d'Orient Regional Nature Park offers a large wealth of original groups of vegetation.
- The meadows, vary in form according to the level of humidity of the soil, each has a characteristic flora.
- One finds in the humid meadows, the most typical form of the champagne wetlands, sedge, aquatic ragwort, grasses, clover etc.
- Chalk fields confined in this sector have escaped cultivation (the south side of the Côte de Champagne). High and dense, they have welcomed milkwort and many species of orchids.
- In the marshes, present in this part of the Champagne wetlands in the Park, especially surrounded by the forest, one can observe rare plants such as the gentian, the perennial sow thistle or the spurge...
- Many ponds are dotted across the Orient massif. They constitute a very interesting and rich environment for hydrophilic and aquatic flora. One distinguishes sedges and reeds, then a belt of immersed plants loddon pondweed and water lilies...
There are now over 793 species of mushrooms in the Park.
These mushrooms are integral part of the ecosystem and like the other components are fundamental.
They are ground bacterias and the main decompost organic matter, essential for the growth of the vegatation.
So, respect them!
Not many people know it, but there are different laws in Europe regarding mushroom picking.
There are a few things you should know before you go running in the woods...
The diversity of the landscapes linked to a convergence of biogeographical influences(continental, mountain, mediterranean), as well as a privileged situation regarding the main migration routes of European avifauna, give this territory an important heritage value.
The Regional Nature Park constitutes one of the 17 French sites recognized by the international community as a humid zone of international importance, notably for water birds, according to the Ramsar Convention . The Park also has several sites of communal interest that is for the birds or the habitats of the wild flora and fauna. Finally, the Park shelters many zones of national ecological interest , with remarkable animal and plant species, some of which are protected by law.
From West to East of the park, you can notice the landscape changing.
Coming out of Troyes, spreads the large cereal fields, growing on chalky grounds; Further away, the ground becomes more clayey, perfect base for the lakes, the pounds and the alluvial forest.
Then further West, beyond the big forest massifs, the river Aube runs in the valley, where the fields are used for market gardening near Brienne-le-Château.
Thereofre, a beautiful mosaic caracterise the territory of the Regional Nature Park.