Beaujolais UNESCO Global Geopark
Très Beaujolais

Moorland and dry grasslands

  • Beaujolais' moorland

Moorland and dry grassland can be found in the central part of the territory. Here, solar irradiance is strong, the substrate poor and the water rare, which limits the implantation of forest species. Occupied by a specific fauna, the actors of this territory are joining to maintain this environment, while encouraging the installation and the development of adapted agricultural production.

Moorland are dominated by differents brooms and the Eurasian eagle-owl is present. On the limestone hillsides, the dry grasslands shelter different varieties of orchids, the hoopoe, the red-backed shrike and an uncommon butterfly: the Piedmont ringlet.

The Saône Valley

  • "Lônes" of the Saône Valley

The Saône Valley ("Val de Saône" in french) is one of the most emblematicand fragile areas of the territory due to its multiple uses. The Saône Valley's landscapes have conserved their original aspect as lowland forest which develops naturally along river banks. The shallow depth and the quality of the water give this place a role as a shelter and a breeding site for fish.

During flooding, the waters of the River Saône spread over the water meadows : this phenomenon leads to the creation of new environments, which are conducive to the development of a particular ecosystem, whose emblematic flower is the Fritillary and the main animals are the birds. We can see the Eurasian curlew and the Stone-curlew.

Forest and mountain environments

  • Beaujolais' mountains

The forest covers 33.5 % of the total surface of the applicant's territory, with a prevalence of coniferous species. Wood production, ecological management, landscape conservation and as a leisure destination for the general public are amongst the many activities that we have to reconcile to preserve the forest ecosystem.

Under this forest cap thrives a complex biodiversity. The blocks of old trees provide precious shelter for birds and bats who make the most of all the holes, when on the ground dead wood enables mushrooms and insects to develop. The environment's acid soils are appreciated by species such as the bracken fern or the foxglove. The High Beaujolais also welcomes the aconit tue-loup, the martagon lys and the sureau orchids. Today, around 8000 deer and 800 boar have been counted in the Beaujolais.

The open environment and vineyards

  • Beaujolais' vineyards

The small valleys and the plains of the Beaujolais are suitable for agricultural production. In the hillsides, cattle and sheep farming dominates and focuses on meat, milk and cheese production.Wine growing is most prevalent to the east of the region. On the eastern plains and hillsides of the mountains, vineyards thrive between the many affluents of the Saône. Implanted by monks and bishops during the Xth century, they are the result of a rich ancestral legacy, in which specific practices and craftsmanship are passed on from generation to generation.

The Beaujolais wines are the product of a single grape variety, called "le Gamay" and most of the vineyard are installed on a severals soils : Carboniferous granite (330 - 290 Mya), Devonian diorite and schist (430 - 360 Mya), fluvio-glacial clay rich sands of the Pleistocene (< 3 Mya), etc.

Rivers and wetlands

  • Beaujolais' river

The wetlands and aquatic environments can be found throughout the entire territory, mostly at the heads of the catchment areas, as waterpoints and permanent streams, wet meadows, peatbogs, gravel pits, reed beds, river-bank woodlands, etc. Today, considering the stakes they represent, they are gradually being recognized and preserved. Indeed, they have a part in managing the water supplies and are useful to many species, for their reproduction and foodsupply.

During the inventory conducted in 2012, at least 1300 wetlands were identified in the Beaujolais ! According to another study conducted in 2014, one out of five area of wetland is under threat, thus the necessity to act in order to preserve them.

Mines and quarries

  • Glay quarries

The extraction of the Beaujolais underground ressources began long ago : the Romans extracted lead from it. For centuries, mines and quarries sprung up all over the territory, so much so that each village and sometimes even each hamlet, still bear the marks of spaces dedicated to extraction long ago. Today, this extraction is nearly over, the interest is mostly environmental.

Birds such as the Eurasian eagle-owl, enjoy the quarries' rock walls in which they build their nests. In Beaujolais, underground quarries and mines welcome almost half of the cave bats species in Europe.

Geopark Beaujolais

Famous throughout the world for its wines and vineyards, the Beaujolais is also a region shaped by man, who has reaped the benefits of the soil's diversity. Its past is literally written in stone: in the golden, red, white, grey or black rocks and stones that have visibly been put to good use in local construction. This remarkable geology has given rise to great diversity, not only in the landscapes and heritage, but also in terms of human activity, in the culture and traditions that form the identity of the Beaujolais region.

© 2016 - Syndicat mixte du Beaujolais