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