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Saint Namphaise Lakes

Despite their name, "Saint Namphaise lakes" are small in size. They are ponds dug into large, compact, non-fissured blocks of limestone. The Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park area has several hundred of these scattered over it.

These ponds bear the name of one of Charlemagne's officers, who is supposed to have created them. According to legend, inspired by his faith, he abandoned war to lead the life of a hermit on the Causse, where he is supposed to have dug these ponds.

Normally rectangular in shape, they are fed by rainwater, and more rarely by a spring. In a region where water is scarce, they were indispensable to the life of both farm stock and people.

Less used by flocks than in the past, Saint Namphaise lakes are still essential today for the local wild fauna. Small mammals and birds come to drink there, to bathe themselves and to feed.

Numerous species reproduce in them : amphibians - such as the Marbled Newt, the Midwife Toad and the Mediterranean Tree Frog - and dragonflies.

Other surprising creatures haunt them, in particular aquatic insects, crustaceans and small molluscs. There are small animals in considerable numbers : more than 200 species of invertebrates, often invisible to the naked eye, have been recorded in these habitats.

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