The other Saturday we went to the first A Rocha France centre, Les Tourades, near Arles. It was for a meeting of the Board of Trustees/ conseil d’administration, of which Chris is a member. It was a particularly significant one, because after a number of years of discussion, the centre at Les Tourades has actually been sold. There are all sorts of reasons for this, not least the fact that Courmettes is increasingly becoming the focus of operations. In many ways it’s a great pity. It was a good location and has been a great blessing to many people. For the moment at least however, the conservation work in the Vallée des Baux will continue. We have been greatly helped here by the kindness of the new owners in letting us continue to use the smaller attached building (the Mazet) for around another year.
There was a good lunchtime meal where we tried to avoid any sense of finality, and then after further discussions we went along various winding and muddy tracks high above the Ilon Marsh.
There were great views and we were delighted to see four Purple Swamphens, which for those that don’t know the species is an oversized, purple moorhen that looks as if it’s escaped from a Disney cartoon.
It’s a great site – one of the last vestiges in this area of the old Rhône delta wetlands and A Rocha has played a big role in helping save it.