The three Regional Natural Parks participating in the IMPACT Interreg Europe project are:
The Avesnois Regional Nature Park is marked by agriculture. In the heart of the "bocage" (farmland criss-crossed by hedges and trees}, fields and meadows are divided into squares by hedgerows of trees and shrubs. Landscapes featuring forests, rivers and streams stand out thanks to their significant biological wealth. Bluestone buildings, orchards, and village bandstands all add to the appeal of this area. This rural area is ideal for breeding and making dairy products such as "Maroilles", the only certified cheese in the Nord-Pas de Calais region.
Challenge: Preserving the "bocage" landscape as a source of economic and ecological development
Mining Heritage and cross border partnership
The 1st Regional Nature Park created in France in 1968, is characterised by a rich natural heritage (four national forests, rivers and streams). A peri-urban area, it features the remnants of the erstwhile mining industry (slagheaps,man-made lakes. headframes) included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The activity of the ancient abbeys, including the one in St-Amand-les-Eaux, shaped the surrounding rural landscapes. This park, together with the neighbouring Plaines de I'Escaut Nature Pork (Belgian side) forms Le Hainaut Cross-Border Nature Park.
Challenge: Controlling urban spread to prevent the natural area from losing its appeal and to preserve local resources.
Between the sea and marshland
Les Caps et Marais d'Opale Regional Nature Park stretches from the "Grand site national des caps Gris-Nez et Blanc - Nez" (Channel and North Sea side) to the "Marais de St. Omer" (marshland) listed as a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco. Further inland, forest blends seamlessly with undulating "bocage" forming a splendid sea of rural greenery. The Artois Hills, an important farming area, gradually decrease in height finishing with gentle slopes leading to the wetlands of the “marais audomorois", the only marshes in France with market gardens.
Challenge: Making the local residents eco-citizens and players in their area and consequently guaranteeing the quality of their living environment