Sunday, August 24, 2014

Landes


Summer is over on the moors and heathland that make up the landes of the Monts d'Arrée, highest hills in Brittany. Together with the sharp crests of schist/quartzite and the peat-bogs (tourbières) these provide the distinctive shapes and colours of the area, which far from being an unrelieved wasteland has a full palette of colours changing with the season. Molinia or moor-grass dominates by its quantity: lush green in recent months, now browning and finally to turn to shades of biscuit tinted lemon in the low winter sun. There is some sort of heather in bloom most of the year, punctuated by stabs of yellow from gorse or broom. Anatole Le Braz, the great Breton writer and recorder of oral traditions, called the amalgamated smells of the landes 'the scent of Brittany.' Or perhaps 'essence' would be a better word.

1 comment:

Bergamote Calvez said...

One of the nicest things about gorse is when you are walking down a path through a big thicket of it in bloom you can smell the strong coconut / pineapple scent of the blossom.
I like looking for dodder on the gorse, it is locally common.
You can see a lot of gorse with none and then spot a bush that is completely festooned.
There is a place in Jersey called Les Landes which has a similar rocky soil type and is very exposed. No moor grass but there is heather, gorse in vast thickets and bracken where the soil is good.
It is the site of Le Pinacle