La mer en campagne parcours de regnéville sur Mer
©La mer en campagne parcours de regnéville sur Mer

The sea in the country


“The beach formed by the left bank of the Sienne is sandy and lined with dunes”.

This description of the landscape written by a teacher in Regnéville in 1918, is one we could have seen a little over a century ago, when a high tide flooded the field below.

Very recent maritime history

The sea has not always been at the level that it is today. More than 18 000 years ago, the sea level was 120 metres lower while the earth was in the last ice age. The islands of Jersey and Guernsey were accessible on foot, as was England, which was mostly covered by glaciers. Following global warming, the sea level gradually rose to its current level, approximately 2 000 years ago.

The landscape more than 100 years ago

Despite the relative stability of the sea level over the last 2 000 years, the dunes and sandy landscapes described in 1918 by the teacher from Regnéville are natural and fragile formations, occasionally subject to invasion by the sea.  The dune landscape changes depending on the storms, the wind or the tides. This is the reason that up to the 1900’s, most of the dunes were not used by man. Only a few rare activities such as grazing, the drying of seaweed or the rinsing of sand were organised depending on the season.



> Why could we have walked to Jersey or Guernsey 12 000 years ago? And why would we have needed to wear warm clothes ? 
Answer : 12 000 years ago the earth was at the end of the Ice Age that started 100 000 years earlier and the sea level was low enough to be able to walk to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. However, it is very cold.