This is, to the authors' knowledge, the largest and oldest oak in Haut-Rhin. Despite its exceptional size (nearly 7 m in circumference), it is in fairly average health condition due to its age and the growth of a spruce forest around it.
Its great age and its initial spreading shape shows that this oak was born and lived in an open pasture context that turned into a forest a few decades ago. This oak tree is on private forest land but is clearly visible from the forest path.
This tree experienced the Peasants 'War and was already vigorous during the Thirty Years' War. To note in the immediate vicinity of the site, the beautiful ruins of the Castle of Morimont.
Designed in 2009 by the Friends of the Château de Ferrette, the medieval garden of "Courtil de St Fiacre" is made up, as in the Middle Ages, of squares, each of which has a very specific vocation: square of herbs, medicinal plants, legumes or even magic plants ...
The organization of the garden scrupulously respects the indications provided by the Capitulary of Charlemagne or even by the plan of St Gall.
The rocks of the Cave of the Dwarves form an impressive gorge about 25 meters high called Erdwibalaschlucht (the parade of the little women of the earth) and formed by the working of water in the karst limestone. According to legend, these little women of the earth lived with the Erdmanala (little men of the earth) inside the Cave of the Dwarves. Located at the bottom of the gorge, the cave takes on the appearance of a slit that opens in the rock wall and continues through two guts, all developed over about fifteen meters.
Above the gorge, you can access the Plateau des Nains. From there, we have a beautiful view of the Ill valley and the villages of Bouxwiller, Werentzhouse. The place also bears the name of Erdwibalafelsen (Roche aux Fées).
2 possible accesses:
- park in the parking lot of the Communauté de Communes in Ferrette (3A route de Lucelle) and take the red diamond path along the road towards Sondersdorf. Allow 30 to 35 minutes to access the cave (1,8km).
- park in the Keucht car park located in the forest. Take the direction of Sondersdorf and, a little before leaving the village, take the forest path on your left indicated by a wooden sign "Sentier des Nains". Continue to the car park located a few hundred meters further on. From the car park, count 15-20min walk on a beautiful path accessible by 4X4 stroller.
In the heart of the Alsatian Jura, the Wolschwiller State Biological Reserve is a real open-air laboratory. Remote limestone cliffs, rare species, breathtaking view of a magnificent landscape.
Its geographical location allows for cross-border management with Switzerland, giving it a much greater ecological importance than the 67 ha located on the municipal district of Wolschwiller.
It concentrates quite original environments for Alsace, in particular cliffs and exceptional limestone rocky outcrops. The fauna, and in particular the avifauna, is represented by rare species including the eagle owl, the peregrine falcon and the common raven.
No less than 350 plant species have been identified to date. Several are protected at the regional level: Mountain Alysson (Alyssum montanum), Cretan Athamante (Athamanta cretensis), Sheathing Coronilla. Other species without protection status are notable, in particular a moss, Grimmia teretinervis which had never been recorded in the region.
Careful silviculture is carried out around these cliffs to avoid cover closures. The conservation of many dead and hollow woods, essential in terms of biodiversity and good environmental balance, has already been practiced for many years.
The reserve also shelters remarkable trees of which a Scots pine at least 200 years old stands on a steep cliff which dominates the village of Wolschwiller. Clinging directly to the rock, this twisted pine with the appearance of Bonzaï has, in living memory, not changed a branch.
Under this cliff is a cave which, it is said, housed the village priest Joseph Enderlin, a refractory priest who continued to minister clandestinely in the region after the French Revolution. Attention, unsecured site, do not approach the edge!
To the right of the castle of Hirtzbach, Charles de Reinach had arranged, in the 19th century, an English garden, populated with beeches, ash trees, pines and other rarer trees under our skies including a pedunculate oak registered in the supplementary inventory historical monuments. A stream and three ponds where swans and ducks frolic give it a pleasant note of freshness.
Open to the public, the complex houses several buildings including, to the left of the entrance, the last Sundgau ice house, where ice was stored cut from the frozen surface of the ponds.
Opposite the entrance to the park, on the islet called Sainte-Hélène, there is a chalet, the stake, which serves as a wood reserve. Beyond the icebox, another chalet, to the right of the driveway, was used for drying the boards, while the one copied from a model in the canton of Lucerne, at the end of the road, allowed the recovery to be stored.
The Nérac ponds are located in the municipalities of Altenach and Saint-Ulrich in the Sundgau. Dating from the 5th century, this set of 70 ponds, about twenty hectares, constitutes a transitional environment between the beech forest and cultivated fields. Operated until the 1990s, they were then sold to the Haut-Rhin General Council in the early 4s. Their size and lack of maintenance for several years allowed them to evolve towards greater naturalness, despite their typical morphology of Sundgau fishing ponds. Thus, their steep banks only allowed the installation of a thin curtain of riverine vegetation. Only pond n ° XNUMX had a large reed bed. In addition, the constant water levels and the very low diversity of habitats were not conducive to the exploitation of ponds by a variety of fauna.
However, the ornithological monitoring carried out on this site has shown that more than a hundred species of birds use the Nérac ponds, either to nest there or for migratory stopovers. Rare species, such as the penduline remiz, the osprey, the harrier harrier or the common crane have been observed there. In addition, their location between the edge of the forest and openfield gave them significant potential for welcoming biodiversity.
A guidebook available at the Maison de la Nature du Sundgau located in Altenach or at the Tourist Office offers you a walk of 2h-2h30 to discover this site conducive to bird watching.
Nature reserve of the canton of Jura, Lake Lucelle invites you to discover the rich fauna and flora that make it up. You will be able to contemplate duck, mallard and other palmipeds thanks to the gentle and quiet walk of a short half-hour accessible to all (including people with reduced mobility), which is offered to you. This path is adorned with educational panels that will allow you to understand and especially to discover this magnificent site nestled in a green setting between France and Switzerland.
Possibility of accommodation and catering on site.
Today, the Rhine Island is a mosaic of land and water spaces, very diverse and conducive to the development of biodiversity.
On the 100 hectares formerly dedicated to the cultivation of corn, a large-scale ecological renaturation has been carried out including the restoration of an arm of the river over more than seven kilometers, thus giving birth to a new river in Alsace. A set of natural, wet and dry environments has been restored and allows the maintenance or return of certain species of amphibians, birds and mammals.
The map of the walks is downloadable, the routes can be done on foot or by mountain bike. :
Circuit 10: "Grand tour of the island of the Rhine" of 12 km.
Circuit 9: 3,5 km "Petit-Rhin" to "Vieux-Rhin" path on the southern tip of the island. To do this little circuit of the renatured Rhine Island on foot only, the Access by car is via the Märkt dam, from the German side, so you have to cross the Palmrain cross-border bridge and take the street named "Alte Strasse" to the Märkt car park (see map).
Circuit 7: "Rhine escapades trail" 3,5 km north of the island. To discover the northern tip of the island and its pretty "Istein bar" made up of small rapids in the rocky bed of the Old Rhine, the circuit is accessible by Kembs-Loechlé.