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Working holiday to the Auvergne, central France, February 2018

We are looking for a team of 10-12 enthusiasts to join us in        February 2018 (12th – 22nd) for our first working holiday to the    very rural village of Taxat-Senat in the northern Auvergne in   France, to work for 5-6 days with the community to improve their local environment (tree planting, ditch clearance, hedge and footpath management etc). Taxat-Senat is a small village in the  area between the A71 motorway and the river Allier. See this map link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?hl=en&mid=1N7-l-UrZBkyl20BS-jct9bjR45k&ll=46.33427246319142%2C3.3107900933349583&z=10

view down into Taxat-Senat looking north.

view down into Taxat-Senat looking north.

We shall also be working in the neighbouring commune where there is some very rich limestone grassland adjacent to the picturesque medieval village of Charroux; in an interesting abandoned quarry beside active kaolin mines at La Bosse, where the invading birches need to be controlled; and also on the Val d’Allier Nature Reserve south of Moulins a narrow strip of species-rich woodland and grassland beside the beautiful river Allier. See: https://www.allier-auvergne-tourisme.com/naturepatrimoine-naturel-10-1.html  The Allier river is one of the last unregulated large rivers in France .

The medieval village of Charroux, beautifully preserved.

The medieval village of Charroux, beautifully preserved.

There is a fascinating geological museum at La Bosse the site of the kaolin and tungsten mines.

There is a fascinating geological museum at La Bosse the site of the kaolin and tungsten mines.

A small EuCAN group was invited to visit the area in August 2017 to meet the local community and to explore opportunities for future work in the local villages and nature reserves. We were given a very warm welcome, with typical French hospitality, and have a long list of projects we can become involved in. We hope this will be the first of several working holidays to the area. For more info about the 2017 exploratory visit click here. We are obviously not going to see in winter a lot of the species we recorded in August, but the species lists for the August visit can be found here: Bird List Aug 1st – 6th 2017 , Butterfly Species list Aug 1st – 6th 2017 , Moth list Aug 2nd/3rd 2017 .

The Group

We will travel across on the night ferry from Portsmouth to Caen on Monday February 12th and back on the night ferry on Wednesday 21st, arriving back in the UK early on the morning of Thursday 22nd. We will travel down through France by minibus, stopping for a snack lunch on the way and arrive in Taxat-Senat at about 4pm. We will be staying in the municipal gite in the nearby village of Bellenaves and working on at least five of the days, with the first day set aside to explore the area and the Sunday a free day for walking, cycling etc. There should be plenty of opportunity to enjoy the delicious locally produced food and the Saint-Pourçain wines.

The market at Bellenaves where we will be staying in the municipal gite.

The market at Bellenaves where we will be staying in the municipal gite.

The cost of this visit includes night ferries Portsmouth-Caen, minibus travel in France, and full board (we will be mainly cooking for ourselves as a group but will eat out locally on two nights), but excludes drinks, travel insurance and meals on the journeys. Subsidised price per person in shared accommodation:  £350 / £200 for unwaged. These are the minimum prices we ask for – if you would like to contribute more or would like to sponsor someone who otherwise could not afford the cost, please get in touch.

Please complete the registration form for this visit – click here - and return it by email to [email protected] . Once we have a viable number for the trip, we will ask you to pay a deposit of £100 into the EuCAN account and the balance in mid January.

You can download a publicity flier for the visit – please send it to any of your contacts who you think would be interested. Click here.