A dovecote, witness of the rural activities of yesteryear


By undertaking the restoration of a very ancient dovecote located close to the pond of La Maizière, an association is participating in preserving the memory of the local rural architecture, while making the younger generations aware of the environment. A pedagogical approach in more than one respect.

"The specific value of the project comes from its pedagogical dimension. Numerous environmental education projects are in fact organized throughout the year thanks to active partnerships with the French Education Ministry and the local authorities."
Jacques Poujade

In the Lot-et-Garonne district, at the site of a former meander of the Garonne river, a natural reserve was created in 1985. The association Sépanlog (Société pour l'Étude, la Protection et l'Aménagement de la Nature en Lot-et-Garonne) manages this protected and sensitive area.

While the fauna and flora are particularly rich there, the association also wants to conserve the habitat. Thus, the restoration of a set of typical rural buildings has been undertaken. In a 19th century farm, a bread oven, a tobacco dryer and ancillary buildings have already been refurbished. Today, the place offers a regular venue for awareness projects in environmental conservation. School children and specialized establishments are among the main visitors of the site. In order to complete this built up complex, it is now necessary to renovate a dovecote located nearby. Bought by the association from a private owner, this dovecote, with a six-sided wooden structure, dates from the 18th century and is very dilapidated.

Full Scale Construction Project

To be preserved, its various parts will have to be completely dismantled, carefully numbered, restored, and finally correctly reassembled. All these delicate operations will be entrusted to Compagnons du Tour de France and carried out under the supervision of an architect. This approach guarantees the reconstruction of the building according to the rules of the art. In addition to this extremely fastidious work, certain less complicated tasks, like the dismantling of the filling materials, will be handled by a workforce integration agency.

A witness of the rural life of the past, the dovecoat, will then naturally recover its place within the pedagogical visits organized on the site by the association, particularly in partnership with the French National Education Ministry and the local authorities. Every year, four to five thousand children are thus welcomed and discover both the environment and the life in the countryside.