We’ve teamed up with Back­wa­ters cruises to help you dis­cover the wildlife and wa­ter­ways of France.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Reader Holiday -

E njoy a na­ture-themed week of cruis­ing and ex­plo­ration on the won­der­fully scenic and se­cluded Canal du Niver­nais, in the heart of Bur­gundy. Dur­ing the trip, you’ll ex­plore the full 70km of the Canal du Niver­nais and River Yonne be­tween the spec­tac­u­lar city of Aux­erre and the me­dieval town of Clamecy, in the com­pany of na­ture and bird­watch­ing guide Ja­son Mitchell and a col­league from one of the lo­cal con­ser­va­tion and na­ture-watch groups. There’ll be three full days of cruis­ing and three more days of re­laxed ex­plo­ration of the nat­u­ral world sur­round­ing you. Bur­gundy is a par­adise for na­ture lovers. Its jewel in the crown, the Mor­van For­est, is a na­tional park cov­er­ing nearly a quar­ter of a mil­lion hectares. There are deep val­leys and faults crossed by rapids, peaks cov­ered with for­est and moun­tain­sides dot­ted with bogs and broom-cov­ered heaths.

The rivers Yonne, Cousin and Cure weave their way through the re­gion form­ing pic­turesque val­leys with wildlife and spec­tac­u­lar view­points, and these rivers have nu­mer­ous trib­u­taries with water­falls, lakes and reser­voirs.

Over 150 species of birds have been sighted in the Mor­van alone, and wild boar, deer, badgers, pole­cats and bats all have their home there. The wa­ter­ways and lakes pro­vide habi­tat for lots of fish, such as carp, perch, pike and trout – ac­com­pa­nied by preda­tory birds, in­clud­ing herons and king­fish­ers, which should be reg­u­lar sight­ings as you jour­ney along the canal. Or­gan­ised by BBC Wildlife Mag­a­zine in part­ner­ship with Back­wa­ters cruises. Ex­act de­tails of the reader hol­i­day may be sub­ject to change.

You should spot plenty of king­fish­ers (right) and herons (below) on a leisurely Back­wa­ters cruise.

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