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Guide to the wildlife to be found in the Loire

The birds and the bees (and a few other animals) of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is known for its châteaux, fine wines and of course, its stunning scenery. But of course, behind all that are the birds, bees and other wildlife who have made the Loire Valley their home, its climate means that it is inhabited by many species that can’t often be found, if at all in the UK. There is so much to see, and much of it is off the beaten track, undiscovered by tourists. 

So, for nature lovers it really is a treat to visit. But what’s in store for those who want to immerse themselves in the beautiful surroundings of the Loire region?

There are plenty of wildlife parks, nature reserves, trails, forest and countryside all over the region, all with its own species to reveal. The Loire is a wild river, and so is an important place for migrating birds. The river itself is so varied, from forest to sandy banks and open water, and so you can expect the wildlife to be too.

Eurasian beavers

For example, beavers were reintroduced into the area 25 years ago very successfully and can be seen up and down the river, but particularly the Ile de a Folie in Chaumont sur Loire, which is a particularly great spot to see dams and the beavers hard at work. 

The Orléans Forest is the biggest natural forest in France. It’s home to many species of bird including osprey and various species of eagle. Buzzards, woodpeckers, nightingale and larks. But it’s also a great place to see larger animals, such as wild boar and even wild cats.

Another great area to see in the Loire Valley are the lakes and forests of the Solonge, one of the most important wetlands in France. Home to a large variety of birds of prey, visitors can also see a number of different aquatic birds, from nine different species of heron to terns and grebes. As you would expect, this is also a perfect place for reptiles and amphibians, such as frogs, newts, vipers, snakes and salamander. 

Common tern

All along the bank, visitors will be able to spot a huge number of different butterflies and moths, 100 species of butterflies have been spotted in the area, and over 850 different types of moths! Dragonflies too, with over 60 different species all in one corner of Europe.

Finally, if there’s one place you should go to, it’s the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Reserve which goes from Tours and Angers. A huge variety of wildlife to spot, one of the best ways to tour the area is by canoe, a trail through the reserve really gets you right to the heart of nature. 

We’ve got some wonderful holidays which tour the Loire Valley. One of our favourites is the Loire Valley River Cruise. We have the only hotel barge sailing through the Valley, and it gives you a wonderful unique viewpoint of the river, with all the nature nestling into the bank.

Or how about our Loire Discovery cycling tour

It’s got the freedom for you to explore at your leisure, from the banks of the River Cher, through the countryside of Montrichard. With so much to see, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

If you would like our help and advice, we are happy to help you create an itinerary, allowing you to explore the wonderful nature the region has to offer.