Guided Nature Walks in the Touraine Loire Valley

A group photographing an orchid on one of the private sites we visit.

Orchids of the Val de la Claise Tourangelle
Discover the remarkable, but little known habitat formed by the system of river valleys and limestone spurs between Bossay-sur-Claise and le Grand Pressigny.

Escorted by Australian-born field taxonomist, Susan Walter, visit privately owned sites and see orchids, butterflies and dragonflies. It is not unusual to see 12 species of orchids in 2 hours, breeding populations of Glanville Fritillary and Provencal Short-tailed Blue butterflies, or dragonflies such as the elusive Western Spectre.

Meet in Place des Halles, Preuilly sur Claise, duration 2 hours, price €190. The walk can be extended to include lunch at a popular local restaurant.

The Limestone Ridge Woodland Edges of Panzoult
Dominated by Downy Oak Quercus pubescens, the dry poor soil of the limestone ridges of the valley of the Vienne at Panzoult support more than grape vines! This walk along rural tracks through deciduous woodland and cereal crops reveals a very particular assemblage of botanical species, including a number of orchids and rare 'arable weeds', as well as butterflies, dragonflies and if we are lucky, some interesting beetles and reptiles.

Meet at the carpark between the bridges in l'Ile Bouchard, or at the church in Panzoult, duration 2-3 hours, price €210. The walk can be extended to include lunch at a popular local restaurant and a winery visit.

The Dry Open Grassland of Bléré
This area of natural unimproved flower rich grassland surrounds the spring which provides the water for the town of Bléré, providing a natural buffer zone to maintain the water quality. Grassland species of butterflies abound, as do certain species of orchids.

Meet at the Chapelle de Jehan Seigne in Bléré, duration 2-3 hours, price €210. The walk can be extended to a full day, to include a guided tour of the Chateau of Chenonceau, lunch at a popular local restaurant and a winery visit.

These are "follow my leader" tours where you use your own car to follow the guide to selected sites, then walk. These nature walks can be booked for a minimum of 2 people, maximum 6. Birdwatchers are welcome, and we will undoubtedly see a variety of bird species on all of the walks. However, the focus will be on botany and entomology, as it is the area of expertise of the guide. The most popular of these walks are the orchid walks during May and June.

The management of sites for wild orchids and / or butterfly surveying will also be covered for those who are interested.

All activities can be booked from (April) May to August (September) by emailing (contact at or telephoning Susan on +33 (0)2 47 94 20 53 a minimum of 48 hours before. Payment must be made in full via PayPal prior to the walk, unless cash on the day is agreed.

You can read about one of the orchid walks on Martin Smith's Birding Blog and in a trip report by Mary Braddock (that's Mary and her companions in the photo above). Linda and her companions went on an orchid walk and she wrote about it here. Jim, Pippa, Mervyn and Rosabelle wrote about their walk here. Ralph had been disappointed not to find as many orchids as he had hoped, but going on a walk with Susan solved that.