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This national park consists of an area of fairly low mountains with spectacular scenery on the southern edge of the Massif Central.
The habitats are varied with gorges, cliffs and scree slopes, bare plateaux, open heath and alpine meadows and areas of dense coniferous, mixed and deciduous woodland.
Although it is very popular with tourists, especially the dramatic Tarn and Jonte Gorges, the area is very important for a number of species and raptors in particular.
A vulture reintroduction scheme in Cevennes has been successful and Griffon Vulture and Eurasian Black Vulture are now once again resident in the area with Egyptian Vulture as summer visitors. Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Red Kite, Goshawk and Peregrine Falcon are also resident. Other raptors present in summer include Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Western Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle and Black Kite. Owls present include Eurasian Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Little Owl and in summer, Eurasian Scops Owl.
The higher areas are home to Northern Raven and Red-billed Chough, Ring Ouzel and both rock thrushes although typically high mountain species such as Alpine Accentor, Wallcreeper and Snow Finch are generally seen only in winter.
The Mejean Causse in the centre of the Cevennes is an important area of open grassland with almost steppe conditions and breeding species such as Little Bustard, Stone-curlew and Red-legged Partridge, and passerines including Greater Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit and Ortolan Bunting. Western Capercaillie and Black Grouse also breed with Black Woodpecker and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker found in the forested areas. Alpine Swift and Eurasian Crag Martin are easily seen throughout the gorges in summer and Common Dipper, Common Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper breed along the rivers.
Birds you can see here include:
Grey Heron, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Black Grouse, Western Capercaillie, Red-legged Partridge, Little Bustard, Stone-curlew, Common Sandpiper, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Eurasian Scops Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Greater Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Common Dipper, Common Wren, Alpine Accentor, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, European Stonechat, Black Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Subalpine Warbler, Blackcap, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Crested Tit, Wallcreeper, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Common Jay, Red-billed Chough, Eurasian Jackdaw, Northern Raven, Rock Sparrow, White-winged Snow Finch, Chaffinch, European Serin, Citril Finch, Eurasian Linnet, Yellowhammer, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting
In addition to the birds the Cevennes has an excellent flora with a huge number of plant species found in its varied habitats. The dry limestone plateaux or causses have a particularly rich and distinctive flora with about 900 flowering plant species recorded. Orchids are common and varied in the park with over 40 species including Man, Monkey and Lady Orchids and the magnificent Lady's Slipper, equally spectacular, the Martagon Lily is common as are Wild Daffodil, Yellow Pheasant's-eye and Pasque-flower.
Butterflies are abundant and varied and reptiles are well represented in this dry landscape with Green Lizard especially common.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
The area can be explored on several hiking trails that begin at Le Rozier and information can be found in the National Park centre in the chateau at Florac.
One of the best is the GR6 which leaves the village just behind the church and leads up to the Capluc, a large rock providing an excellent viewpoint over the village and continues to other good lookout points, particularly Cinglegros and Cassagnes.
One of the best areas of the Mejean Causse is around the aerodrome at Florac-St-Enemie.
Access and Facilities
Access to the park is unrestricted but visitors are advised to keep to marked trails, there are guided walks in the summer. The park has information centres and there is hotel and campsite accommodation in the peripheral zone. Easily found and well-signposted, the park can be reached by road from Mende, Millau or Ales. It can be difficult to avoid the numerous tourists in summer, especially in the Gorge du Tarn, less so along the Jonte, but there are numerous good viewing points around the park.
Le Rozier, where the Tarn and Jonte Gorges meet, makes the ideal base and there are hotels and campsites but it is advisable to book in high season.
Content and images originally posted by Steve