Special Areas of Conservation

Ecological sites to be preserved

Take the time to stop moving, really see nature, listen to the birds and discover a wealth of local plantlife. Special Areas of Conservation are perfect for taking a restorative break.

The Dieppe region has three such sites, whose rare natural environments, some of them endangered, are of great biological and scenic interest. They receive appropriate ecological management (manual brush clearing, late felling and grazing by rustic animals). The same is true of the facilities open to the public, which fit perfectly into the landscape and have no environmental impact.

Cape Ailly

A fragile, impermanent site

Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer

This site owes all its unique features to its wet subsoil, so don’t be surprised to find a touch of Brittany’s moors there, just like in the Bois des Communes wood! Unfortunately, that is also what makes it so fragile, because the highly unstable cliffs are inexorably sliding into the sea… Which is precisely why there have been three different lighthouses there since 1775!

The present-day Ailly Lighthouse still towers over the site. In fact, we recommend parking your car there before heading out on your walk.

The moors quickly take on the colours of their dense vegetation, which varies with the seasons. And you will undoubtedly pass by herds of cows grazing there. If you pay special attention to the plantlife, you may stumble upon a carnivorous plant, the Drosera rotundifolia (common sundew). But don’t worry: your toes have nothing to fear!

Remember to look up and observe the trees, where it is not uncommon to spot squirrels and, if you’re lucky, maybe even an unobtrusive or dozing owl.

Bernouville woods

An area between land and sea

Hautot-sur-Mer

This lush green setting, one of only a handful of large forest tracts on the coast of the Seine-Maritime department, is a rich and varied area, representative of a coastal wood. We especially recommend exploring it in springtime, when the daffodils, anemones, hyacinths and violets form a colourful, flowery carpet.

Whilst rambling along the waymarked eco-trail, you will discover the ruins of a mediaeval château built in the 11th century, which has since become one with the surrounding nature. The forest all around it was only planted in the 20th century, when romantic walks around old stones overrun by weeds came into fashion.

The site is the home of at least five species of tits. Step outside of time here, to the tune of birdsong.

Bois des Communes

An ecological gem of a wood perched atop a cliff

Varengeville-sur-Mer

This small 5 hectare wood in Varengeville is home to vegetation that is completely original for Normandy. Thanks to its special acidic, wet subsoil, a moor developed where heather and gorse flourish. This environment feels like a little slice of Brittany or Scotland!

At a bend in the paths lined with oak, birch and pine trees, you may come across a royal fern which can grow up to 2 metres tall.

Newts, frogs, toads and more: in the spring, the pond is paradise for amphibians! In the summer, you can admire the dragonflies and damselflies that, after spending the first part of their lives as aquatic larvae, emerge from the water for their new lives in the air.