Animals of écovallée
The animals of écovallée fall into three camps: domestic, farm and wild.
Since moving to France in 2007, Clare and Alex have collected a number of domestic animals who have become members of the family. At Reception, you will find the world’s most popular dog, a former stray called Hairy (who, when wet, is the spitting image of the famous Maclary). There are also four cats: Midnight, Tiger, Feisty, and Snuggles (who is usually hiding).
With so many animals on site, you will understand why guests are invited to leave their own pets at home during their holiday.
On the “farm”
The first proper farm animal in écovallée was Pepito, the working horse. After spending many years pulling gypsy caravans around the Dordogne, he spent a few more years turning grass, carrots, apples and very stale bread into manure for the vegetable patch. In 2014, he went even further into retirement and lives very happily nearby.
You will now only find small (in French “basse-cour”) animals in the valley. Around a dozen free-range chickens provide the most delicious eggs you have ever tasted, with the yellowest yolks you have ever seen. Two geese (called Lucy and Zander) live in the old Pig Ark in the field overlooked by the outdoor kitchen. And our resident rabbit, Snuffles, lives in a mobile run outside the orchard, where he helps to keep the grass down.
In the wild
There is a fantastic range of wildlife in and around écovallée. Two types of deer can often be seen on the hillside opposite the outdoor kitchen, in front of which the bats put on a spectacular air show after dusk every day. Buzzards wheel in the sky on hot, lazy days. Green woodpeckers and Hoopoes are a common sight. But only the lucky few will spot a Golden Oriole high in the trees, although in early Summer they can be heard morning and evening.
(Scroll over images for captions.)