Daniel Melin – Noeux-les-Auxi (Village patrimoine)
An exceptional nature reserve
Daniel Melin knows his little village of Noeux-les-Auxi well; like the back of his hand. « I arrived here in 1975 as headmaster of the village school and I planned to stay a few years before heading back to my beloved Boulonnais. But I really loved it here; I liked the slightly old-fashioned side of the village, the hilly landscapes, and the simplicity of the locals who really love to have a good time… »
Love-struck? Undoubtedly so. So much so that Daniel became mayor of this little village of 175 souls that has managed to retain its school, café, football team and a festivities committee that is particularly active.
Noeux-les-Auxi may well be a « hidden backwater », as the inhabitants of the nearby town of Auxi-le-Château like to say, but it is home to a regional nature reserve that is sure to seduce lovers of walks and curiosities. That’s because the chalk hillside of Riez, spanning eight hectares, is home to some truly unusual flora and fauna. « It’s the most beautiful chalk hillside in the Nord-Pas de Calais! The chalk grassland colonised by orchids, thousands of juniper bushes, the little purseweb spider; these are all unique to this spot. »
To make the most of the scenery and the richness of this spot, walking circuits have been drawn out. Daniel, inexhaustible and apparently all-knowing, will guide you along the trail of your choosing on foot or by mountain bike. He can tell you about how herds of sheep are moved every year and how this movement is followed by around a hundred people; he will lead you to the astonishing Cavernes Ravine or the Mille Trous Meadow.