Frequently asked questions



photo library


Le Pôle des espaces naturels à Saint-denis-du-Payré
The grassy mounds (“mottureaux” in French), an original micro-relief © RNN St Denis du Payré
The grassy mounds (“mottureaux” in French) has become rarer and rarer

Our most frequently asked questions

What is the best time of year to come and watch the birds?
The show is constantly changing:
– thousands of birds in winter (November-March),
– a wide variety in spring (March-May) and summer (July-August).

What is the best time of day?
The morning and late afternoon are the most advisable times, in order to enjoy the best lighting conditions.

Why is the access to the observatory not free and possible all year long?
The choice has been made when the reserve was created in order to provide a high quality service to visitors. The hide is equipped with telescopes and binoculars that’s why volunteers or employees of the reserve are on hand during opening periods to provide assistance and avoid damages or robberies.

Is there a link with the tides?
The reserve is about 16 miles as the crow flies from the coast. Apart from a few rare species, the tide has no impact on the presence, or absence, of birds.

Are boots needed when accessing the site?
No, the pathway on stilts allows people to access the hide without any special equipment.

Is the visit aimed at all members of the public?
Yes, you do not need to have any ornithological knowledge to enjoy the show.

Can we come outside of opening hours?
When the reserve is closed, access is only possible for groups, upon reservation.

From which age can a child use a telescope?
Children under 7 may find it difficult to use the telescopes. This is why admission is free for them.

What is the strength of the telescopes?
Depending on the model, the telescopes magnify by between 22 and 30 times. If you have your own equipment, it is possible to bring it to the observatory.

Can we take photographs from the observatory?
Yes, the hide windows can be opened. We cannot, however, guarantee that the birds will always be near the hide.

How far is it between the Centre and the reserve? Can we go on foot?
The distance between the two is about 3 miles. It is not recommended that you go on foot, as the road is dangerous to walk along.

Can we walk in the reserve?
No, as apart from the pathway leading to the observatory, access to the rest of the reserve is prohibited. However, there is an 13 miles walking trail around the village of St-Denis-du-Payré.

Can we take a picnic or park our caravan for a few nights in the reserve?
No, as the gate to the reserve is locked outside opening hours. In addition, there are regulations which prohibit these activities on the site. However, beyond the village, just before the reserve, the village has created a picnic area where you can eat or spend the night.

Can we go to the observatory with a pushchair?
Yes, the site is accessible to pushchairs, as well as people with reduced mobility.

Are dogs allows in the natural reserve?
No, pets are not allowed in the reserve, according to the regulations.