Flora and Fauna

Castelnou (66300) is a picturesque commune nestled in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of southern France. Its captivating beauty is owed in part to the rich diversity of flora and fauna that graces the region. The symbiotic relationship between Castelnou's plant life and animal species creates a delicate ecosystem that contributes to the area's charm and ecological significance.
Flora in Castelnou is a vibrant tapestry of colours and textures. The Mediterranean climate has bestowed upon the region an array of plants adapted to its warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The hillsides are adorned with olive groves, their silver leaves shimmering in the sunlight, while vineyards produce renowned local wines. Cypress trees stand tall, their dark silhouettes etching dramatic outlines
against the sky. Fragrant lavender fields and colourful wildflowers contribute to the picturesque vistas that Castelnou offers and there are areas where unusual edible mushrooms grow for discovery for those that are experts in identification.

The terrain of Mas d’en Llinas is home to 3.5 hectares of olive fields, which we are rehabilitating year on year after being neglected for a long period. The trees are a
species of a specific quality for making olive oil.
The fauna of Castelnou is equally captivating. The Mediterranean climate has
fostered an environment conducive to diverse wildlife. Birdsong fills the air as species like hoopoes, nightingales, and golden orioles find refuge here. Raptors, such as the short-toed snake eagle and the booted eagle, soar elegantly in the skies,
showcasing the natural beauty of the region.
Mas d’en Llinas, as the epitome of the typical landscape surrounding Castelnou is home to these birds, amidst the buzz of the crickets and the chorus of toads, the song of the nightingale and the beautiful call of the golden oriole are music to the ears at this unique site.

An abundance of butterflies flutter throughout Mas d’en Llinas and the surrounding
countryside, the swallowtail butterfly is pictured feeding on the french lavender in the
garden that also grows wild throughout the terrain. The unusual Hummingbird Hawk Moth also makes a regular appearance.
Mammals, too, find a haven in Castelnou and Mas d’en Llinas. The pine marten and the agile genet, caught on camera at night in the garden, and the elusive wildcat are among the feline inhabitants of the area. Wild boar hide amongst the garrigue in the ravine at Mas d’en Llinas and can often be heard snuffling around at night nearer the house. Red and roe deer emerge from the depths of the forests during twilight, their presence a reminder of the wilderness that still thrives. It's not uncommon to spot the European hare darting through fields and the road up to Mas d’en Llinas, or the European badger foraging at dusk.

The waters around Castelnou are home to aquatic life that enhances the ecosystem's richness. Amphibians like the common midwife toad, that emits an unusual almost electronic sound has been heard at Mas d’en Llinas and a rare tree frog, enjoys a refuge in the outhouse next to the pool, these and the agile frog find their breeding grounds in local ponds. The European pond turtle, a species of high conservation concern, can also be spotted in waters around Castelnou.

Conservation efforts have been vital in preserving Castelnou's delicate balance. The commune's dedication to protecting its biodiversity is evident in the establishment of protected areas and wildlife corridors. Local initiatives focus on reducing human impact and promoting sustainable agricultural practices to safeguard the region's unique flora and fauna.