Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Crecy again - what a boar

It's good being able to plan a week's holiday at the drop of a hat, and to chose where to go according to the weather forecast. So when the forecast is for heat, it's best to go to the forests, within easy reach of the coast, and Crecy forest fitted the bill nicely.
Strapping the bikes on the back of the car, we drove slowly down the N roads via La Coupole [impressive restoration, museum, shop and surrounding chalk grassland] and Azincourt [unimpressive, sorry] to our favourite B&B just 100m from the forest.

We rode into the forest at leisure in the mornings and evenings, and there was always something interesting to see, especially as many animals seem to like the quiet roads as much as we do.

It is the habit of white admirals to rest on the road (possibly feeding on squashed slugs) .....

.... and sometimes they come to grief themselves.
While watching the white admiral, sharp-eyes spotted another butterfly nearby, which proved to be a newly-emerged purple hairstreak.

We saw plenty of roe deer beside the road or crashing through the forest, but this little family allowed a stealthy approach from downwind, until they chose to saunter off to feed.

We cycled until it got dark in the evenings, when more insects and animals appeared. What's that crossing the road down there?

It was a herd (or sounder) of wild boar - about eight adults and 20 piglets. We kept our distance, of course, as they are impressive beasts.

And when it was almost dark a slim shadow was sighted, in the area by pine trees where most of the slugs had been seen.  

Fortunately it ran up the road towards the camera and confirmed its identity as a pine martin, a rare animal almost everywhere and apparently unknown in this forest or indeed in the Somme area according to Picardie-nature.

Moving on from our Crecy base, we stopped at a town called Long and enjoyed the typical French riverside habitats.

This edible frog should take care - we later ate at the restaurant in town and I'm sure they would enjoy preparing frogs' legs. Incidentally, the Le Comptoir Bleu restaurant, overlooking the Somme, is one of the best I've visited, and is well worth a trip -great food, service, ambiance and views, not to mention good value.

And so to the real reason for the French trip - Parc Asterix which was a real blast. I have been meaning to take the kids there for 20 years, but eventually they took me!