phoques communs Molène Bretagne @Laetitia Scuiller

Map

Activities and leisures

Discover in kayak the exceptional marine biodiversity of the archipelago of Molene.
Overlooking the sea, the property offers fresh seafoods in an authentic atmosphere.
Encounter grey seals in Mole archipelago. 
Canyon trekking is a sustainable activity that enables the discovery of coastal cliffs at sea level.
Archipel
Geographic strenghts

The archipelago is currently composed of the main island and some fifteen islets. 

Located between the point of Saint Mathieu and Ouessant, the string of verdant islets of Molene is bordered by beaches and white pebble stones, and thousands of seabirds nestle in their masses of steep cliffs. The archipelago has a very rich natural heritage and it is home to one of the rare groups of bottlenose dolphins as well as the largest colony of seals on the French coasts. This true haven of natural wilderness is protected by a significant number of regulatory mechanisms.

Over 210 inhabitants still live on this small rounded piece of land which stretches over less than 1km long and 900m wide, with a surface area of 75ha. The houses in Molene are concentrated around the harbour, in the south-east of the island. Molene, which means “the bald island” in Britton language, owes its name to its flat and treeless landscape.

With its seabed abounding in fish and its well-sheltered harbour, Molene has always been a sailors’ island with coastal fishing as its main activity. While the boats belonged to shipowners from Conquet, crew members came from Molene. There are still three professional fishing boats, which ensure the preservation of some traditional jobs.

The climate in Molene is like that prevailing along most of the Finistere coast, mild in winter and cool in summer. The thermal amplitude between winter and summer averages does not exceed 10°C. Without talking about a ‘micro-climate’, the island often gets more sunshine than the mainland. Yet, given its geographical situation, the island is exposed to particularly rough climatic conditions due to the combined action of heavy swells, generated in the open sea by the wind and tidal currents, which are among the roughest in Europe. Sea conditions can sometimes be highly dangerous between the reefs of the archipelago and are feared by sailors.

Environmental background

A significant amount of regulatory mechanisms related to nature protection aim at preserving the richness of the Molene archipelago: its sites are protected by the Conservatory of the Coastline, it is a natural reserve, a hunting and wild fauna reserve and a biosphere reserve, amongst others.

Managed by the Regional Natural Park of Armorica since its creation in 1988, the biosphere reserve of the Iroise Sea is the only insular biosphere reserve of Metropolitan France. It benefits from the proximity of a coastline and sea research centre based in Brest. It stretches over 20,600ha and comprises the inhabited islands of Ouessant and Molene as well as an archipelago comprising some twenty islets located on the Council territory of Conquet.

Created in 1992, the Marine Natural Park of Iroise has enabled the banning of hunting and picking as well as control access on the islands of Balanec, Bannec and Trielen, namely during the reproduction periods of birds such as the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus), the herring gull (Larus argentatus), the great black-backed gull (Larus marinus), the sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis), the common tern (Sterna hirundo), the oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) and the ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula). The reserve has a total surface area of 39.5ha and is managed by the Bretagne Vivante SEPNB association, which offers the opportunity to the public to discover these protected areas through the Centre for Island Environment, located in Molene. 

Created in 2007, the Marine Natural Park of Iroise is the first of its kind in France. Its main objective is to protect a remarkable heritage and to participate in the sustainable development of activities relying on the marine environment. The marine park counts, amongst others, various species of seabirds as well as sedentary groups of bottlenose dolphins and grey seals. It also harbours more than half of the species of algae present in all European seas. 

Event if the whole set of regulatory mechanisms implemented over the years interweave in a multi-layered protection system, they still enable collective work among the multiple stakeholders involved in the management of natural spaces (the Bretagne Vivante SEPNB association for the islets, the Conservatory of the Coastline, the National Office for Hunting and Wild Fauna, private and public owners).
The preservation and discovery of the rich heritage of the archipelago are major issues for the future of its decreasing population.

Other feature

The inhabitants of Molene were renowned as excellent sailors and heroic lifesavers who never hesitated to join in the most perilous sea rescue operations, including the famous shipwreck of the Drummond Castle, a British cruise liner, in 1896. The namesake museum on the island is open to visitors and it is still possible to see water tank offered by Queen Victoria to the islanders as a token of her gratitude for the heroic rescue of her shipwrecked countrymen.

In short

Molene is barely visible from the coast and appears like a tiny dot at the farthest end of Brittany. Located between the point of Saint Mathieu and Ouessant, the string of verdant islets of Molene is bordered by beaches and white pebble stones, and thousands of seabirds nestle in their masses of steep cliffs. The archipelago has a very rich natural heritage and it is home to one of the rare groups of bottlenose dolphins as well as the largest colony of grey seals on the French coasts. This true haven of natural wilderness is protected by the Conservatory of the Coastline, it is a natural reserve, a hunting and wild fauna reserve, a biosphere reserve and lastly, a marine natural park. All these measures interweave with each other to ensure the sustainable protection of the site and enable collective work among the multiple stakeholders involved in the management of natural spaces, all the while preserving the economy and the traditions of Molene.

 

 

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