THE SHALE PLAIN THAT MAKES UP THE NORTHERN PART OF THE GEOPARK CONSISTS OF HAY MEADOWS AND LOW-NUTRIENT WET GRASSLAND.
Its plant life is a complex mixture of species as colourful as they are rare, adapted to a soil that is wet in winter and dry in summer. These meadows, bordered by hedges and often featuring ponds, are an ideal refuge for frogs, toads and newts, southern damselfly, red-backed shrike, European stonechat, corncrake, grey heron, wildcat, roe deer and more. The central part of the Geopark, the Calestienne, is taken up by a succession of chalk grasslands and rocky outcrops. These habitats, home to rare and unusual plants and with a high proportion of species with Mediterranean origins, are also known as « little Provence ». This is the realm of orchids, insects and butterflies, snails, but also reptiles (lizards and snakes) and the great horned owl. The large bat populations to be found in the Geopark owe much to the many caves and holes available as habitat. The southern part of the region is covered by the forests of the Ardenne Massif, and is home to larger animals such as red deer and wild boar but also the shy black stork or forest-dwelling species of bats. This variety of extremely rich biotopes makes our Geopark an absolute paradise for any naturalist.