Wild immersion at the Izadia Ecological Park in Anglet

Anglet
Wild immersion at the ...

In the Basque language, " Izadia " means " nature ". Lovers of the great outdoors and ecology, children and families, sportspeople or the curious looking for outdoor outing ideas, this 14.7 hectare park offers lush greenery with unspoiled landscapes. A wild parenthesis which welcomes the last vestiges, not urbanized, of the dune coast and back dune of the Landes coast. Here, the salt water of the lagoon mixes with the fresh water of an arm of the Adour to create an exceptional environment rich in biodiversity .


Accessible free of charge and open to everyone, this ecological park managed by the municipality of Anglet and included in the "Natura 2000 L'Adour" area , aims to reconnect visitors with nature through a course of walking trails . A nice walk in perspective, likely to please the greatest number from the park house, open from Wednesday to Sunday.


Izadia Anglet Park


Izadia Anglet Park

The entrance to the Izadia ecological park


The House of the Environment and Sustainable Development: understanding the ecology of the coast

Near the Barre beach in Anglet, the Izadia ecological park is located on a fragile natural environment, by the sea. The presence of a saltwater lagoon gives it major interest in terms of ecology, a sort of transition between the land and the ocean.

Inaugurated in 2007, this park consists of the "House of the Environment and Sustainable Development" , the main building in wood and steel, mounted on stilts and designed by the architect Philippe Madec, two lakes and trails around. When I arrived, I discovered the fun and educational scenography of the main exhibition on the ecological functioning of the coast and on the very particular geographical situation of this “buffer” zone between the urban environment and the vastness of the ocean. This wetland provides habitat for a variety of insects , mammals , reptiles and birds , much to the delight of bird watchers!

Izadia Anglet Park


Izadia Anglet Park

An adventure and learning ground for children

The Maison de l'Environnement is an excellent starting point for contextualizing the discovery of the park, a real tool for environmental education that we will explore later. On the panoramic terraces of this building, spotting scopes allow you to observe the two lakes from above. The North Lake contains salt water, connected to the ocean by a conduit which allows permanent water exchanges through a valve which opens and closes. Further on the horizon, the South Lake contains brackish water fed by rainwater, runoff but also by two underground water tables. It is a shallow marsh area , invaded by aquatic and herbaceous vegetation.

Visit school ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Visit school ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Visit school©Izadia
Visit school©Izadia


Equipped with a detailed sheet on the two circuits to be surveyed and my camera, I set off on the path in search of observation points and carriages that mark out the stages of discovery.


A course of 10 stages surrounded by nature


Izadia Anglet Park

The Chamber of the Valve

Izadia Anglet Park

North Lake with the Maison de l'Environnement in the background

Izadia Anglet Park

The dam between the two lakes

Izadia Anglet Park

Dense vegetation

Leaving the building, I cross the Chamber of the Valve which establishes the connection between the North Lake and the ocean via the Adour. In this transparent and shallow water, a whole population of crabs, shrimps and small fish (anchovies for example) coexists and interacts. The path then bypasses the North Lake, offering stops around stands set up for bird watching . I revel in the panorama highlighted by this lake which stretches as far as the eye can see, embellished with the visit of a few birds.

Dunlin ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Dunlin ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Emperor Anax ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Emperor Anax ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Ambient black-headed gull ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Ambient black-headed gull ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Whinchat, saxicola rubicola©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Whinchat, saxicola rubicola©Izadia.EudesOlivier


The circuit revolves around 10 separate observation places. The in-between lakes is a sort of dike separating the two lakes, ideal for bird watching. Then, the Bird Beach , man-made, hosts a variety of worms, molluscs and crustaceans which attract shorebirds usually feeding on the foreshore at low tide (oystercatchers, stilt, avocet, lapwing crested etc). In the heart of the maritime rushes and the stretched laiche, the brackish marsh constitutes the next stage of discovery. The ecosystem to observe here is rich and varied, dragonflies, amphibians, passerines evolve peacefully in this marshy area. A long wooden footbridge on stilts leads to the salty bevel , a zone of confrontation of salty and soft underground aquifers. As we get closer to the ocean, the sage-leaved heathland fixes the sand of the back dune and forms an environment on its own, with its own biodiversity (lizards, rodents, snakes) . I then cross the alder grove and the elm forest , a wooded area which plays an essential role in purifying water. Along the water, the walk leads to an area of lawn with heliantheme drip , small sand plants suitable for the habitat of rodents such as rabbits. The vegetation is dense and many wild flowers rub shoulders. Finally, the path which returns to the Maison de l'Environnement crosses a vast cork oak pine forest , a shady undergrowth in which it is pleasant to stroll while contemplating the wealth of plants, trees and shrubs that surrounds us. Throughout the walk, interpretation panels for flora and fauna were installed to the delight of all.

Palisades © LéoMicouin
Palisades © LéoMicouin
Foggy brackish marsh ©Izadia.EudesOlivier
Foggy brackish marsh ©Izadia.EudesOlivier


Izadia Anglet Park


Izadia Anglet Park      Izadia Anglet Park


Izadia Anglet Park


Izadia Anglet Park

A wide variety of wild flowers

Izadia Anglet Park      Izadia Anglet Park

Information panels to understand the biotope


My little advice to not miss anything of this fabulous trip: open your eyes and listen ! Take full advantage of the present moment in this natural setting, move at your own pace along the marked path by making regular stops to breathe the fresh air, smell the essences, observe in silence what is happening around you. The Mother Nature show is reinvented according to the seasons and migrations. And then between us, how can we get tired of this wild and peaceful landscape?

Don't forget your camera, something tells me that you will have more than one picture to put in your holiday album!

 

Did you like this report? Discover others by consulting our BLOG. But also by subscribing on the Facebook page of the Basque Country Guide . We also have an Instagram page @guidedupaysbasque.

Photos and Article prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Guide to the Basque Country



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