October 2nd, 2023

The Bellecoste Valat

The Bellecoste Valat is a protected wooded area that borders our vineyard plot.

What is a Valat? In Occitan, this term refers to a ravine or a stream between two steep slopes. Historically, during dry periods, Valats served as pathways for farmers and their equipment, while during heavy Cevennes rains, they protected fields by quickly draining large amounts of water.

The Bellecoste Valat is exceptional due to its natural spring that flows all year round. Its biodiversity is rare in the Costières landscape.

Here are some examples of vertebrates present in this forest:

REPTILES: Contrary to appearances, the slowworm is not a snake but a completely harmless lizard with a smooth, elongated body and no legs. The slowworm lives in dense, humid, and shaded environments. It enjoys snails, slugs, earthworms, caterpillars, woodlice, spiders, and various larvae. In France, this species is protected by law, and it is illegal to kill or capture it.

FISH: The chub, very common in the waters of the Gard region, is particularly voracious. It is the most omnivorous fish in France, feeding on various elements such as moss, plant debris, aquatic invertebrates, flying insects, seeds, fruits, and even small fish and frogs.

MAMMALS: The Genet – This Valat perfectly meets the needs of this nocturnal mammal. Its preferred habitats are wet areas and wooded zones. As a carnivore, it feeds on rodents and birds. It has been fully protected in French territory since 1981.

AMPHIBIANS: Perez’s Frog – Active both day and night, it is present year-round in water or its vicinity. It has been classified as “to be monitored” in the Red Book of French Vertebrates.

RAPTORS: The Eurasian Sparrowhawk – As prey, it prefers small woodland birds, with small mammals being only supplementary food. When you see a pile of feathers, the culprit is likely a sparrowhawk. Before consuming the flesh, it removes the larger feathers.

BIRDS: The Golden Oriole – This colorful bird is heard more often than seen. The Golden Oriole is a species that is difficult to observe because it mainly frequents the canopy of tall old trees and somewhat dense undergrowth. It mainly feeds on insects such as beetles, caterpillars, butterflies, aphids, grasshoppers, and bumblebees. But as the summer progresses, it becomes more frugivorous.


Did you know?

To discover other bird species present in this Valat, you can use the “BirdNet” application. By recording their song, the application allows you to identify the species. The “PictureThis” application also helps you identify plants by simply taking a photo of them.”


  • Chemin des Canaux
  • 30132 Caissargues
  • France
  • Tel: +33 4 66 38 44 30
  • Email:

To enter our website, you must be of legal drinking age in your country.