Vigne de la Carrière de RicouVigne de la Carrière de Ricou
©Vigne de la Carrière de Ricou|S. Zwarteveen-OTHVS
Haut Val de SèvreA sensitive natural space

The Ricou career

This man-made space is remarkable in many ways. From earth to sky, the Ricou career conceals many treasures. From the regionally recognized coal face to the protected natural species it is home to, the site is well worth a visit!

The sea passed by here

Among the few extraction sites still accessible on the Aquitaine side of the Poitou threshold, the Ricou quarry is the only one that allows the Hettangian Sinemuro (lower Lias) and the Pliensbachian (middle Lias) to be studied in good conditions.

This specificity motivated the inclusion of the site in the regional inventory of sites of geological and geomorphological interest carried out by the National Natural Reserve of Toarcian for the Regional Conservatory of Natural Spaces Poitou-Charentes.

This exceptional geological spot has been a privileged place for geology teachers and their students for many years.


Landscaped and ecological

The site offers a wide panorama of the surrounding bocage landscape and the Sèvre Niortaise valley.
The seven natural habitats that make up the quarry are home to remarkable flora and fauna, including some protected species. This is the case of the Azuré du Serpolet, a butterfly associated with the oregano of the dry lawns located above the working face. Particularly fragile and in order to preserve it, the Ricou quarry is registered as a Sensitive Natural Area at the departmental level.

The low walls

witnesses of the era of vines

At the beginning of the 19th century, the vine was still very present in Ricou and, more widely, in the territory of the commune of Azay-le-Brûlé. Witness the identifiable dry stone walls but, above all, the many place names, built from “fief”, a term which, in regional toponymy, corresponds to a plot planted with vines.