The region was named after these two rivers, which indeed represent it quite well. The Saâne, a coastal river both wild and domesticated, is omnipresent in the agricultural and industrial past of the valley. The Vienne is less visible, but this listed site has its own character and is worth the visit.
Take a walk along these rivers on the many hiking trails that go through many of the picturesque villages of the region.
The Saâne: part of the local History
The valley is located away from the principal roads, however, the agriculture and the industry developed significantly during the 19th century (pulp paper and fabric factories in Brachy, cloth weaving in Gueures). Since the 18th century, many mills appeared along the river banks, to exploit the potential of the Saâne's hydraulic power. These mills were mostly used to grind wheat, scutch linen, and later, to produce electricity. 3 of the 32 mills are still operational. The others are for the most part in ruins, but their structure is still visible.
The valley suffered from being left out from the itinerary of the first railways. Therefore in the early 1900's began the erection of little railroad through the valley. Inaugurated in 1912, this line was part of the Normandy Railway Company, and went from Motteville to Ouville La Rivière, carrying goods and passengers. This little railroad, named Tortillard, was closed in 1947, but left its marks on local history.
Concerning the Saâne’s fauna, Brown trout are one of the typical species of the river, and are still quite present despite a severe decrease during the past 30 years. Some migrating fishes such as salmon or sea trout find shelter in the lower part of thevalley. Their return to the sea is however difficult because of the strong current in Quiberville.
The Saâne counts some official fishing spots, mostly managed by Dieppe's AAPPMA.
The Vienne: a protected river
The Vienne is the main tributary of the Saâne, and both watercourses combine in Gueures. This little river is 16 kilometers long and has its source in Beauval-en-Caux.
The history of the River Vienne is tied up with the one of the River Saâne. Thus, the Tortillard went through some villages in the valley. The Vienne used to have 9 mills that are all in ruins nowadays, but some buildings are however still visible, for instance the Marquet mill in Lamberville.
A nature and historical reserve.
The VienneValley is officially a protected site since 1996, because of the unique character of its landscapes. This classification as a protected site means that the site is preserved in its natural state. Therefore, both the natural and the historical features of the VienneValley are the object of particular concern. This really picturesque site is heaven for naturalists and hiking enthusiasts.
For a foretaste of the Vienne and its landscapes, take a look at our photograph's Flickr ! (Gérard Durand).
The valley of the Scie, its famous guests and its apple trees...
The Scie has its source in Val de Saâne and flows into the English Channel in Pourville sur Mer, 38 kilometers away.
This short valley runs through Longueville-sur-Scie, Saint-Victor-L'-Abbaye and Auffay, little towns known for the famous guests they had in the past. William the Conqueror has been in Longueville and Saint Victor l'Abbaye and left some marks in both towns. In Auffay, one may recognize some of the locations described by Flaubert in Madame Bovary. Later, in the same town, Michel Hollard discovered V1 launching-bases, allowing the Allies to take control of them before the missiles were launched.
Many mills can be found along the river, most are dating from the Middle Age. One of them, the “Moulin de l'Arbalète” (in Saint-Maclou-de-Folleville) is opened for visitors.
The valley is still a very agricultural region, as you can see by the numerous orchards and fields that compose the landscape.
The Varenne, valley of the bisons
Tributary of the Arques, the Varenne is a 40 kilometers long river that separates the Pays de Caux and the Pays de Bray.
The Varenne is framed by a rural landscape. Nearby, the Eawy forest offers many hiking opportunities. Moreover, one of the biggest bison farms in Europe, "Rêve de Bisons", that offers touristic accommodations, visits of the bison and deer farm (and soon of the wolves park!), sports activities and restaurants. You can also canoe down the river. A must-do!
Like many other watercourses of the area, the Varenne is labeled First category fishing river. Several salmonid fishes find shelter in it, such as the salmon, the sea trout and the brown trout.