Underneath its natural aspects, the Audomarois marsh hides its game well. What visitor would suspect that the rivers on which it navigates are in fact the result of the hard work of the men of the marsh, the “brouckaillers”, and have been for certain since the 12th century? The development of the marshlands took place gradually under the impetus of the abbeys. This involved draining water into the sea, which gradually dried out the marshland. This was followed by the digging of rivers called “wateringues” and ditches called “watergangs”. In just a few centuries, the marsh went from being a “swamp bristling with forests” to an organized marsh made up of over 15,000 parcels of land and water traversed by 800 kilometers of canals.
At the same time, the marsh’s inhabitants developed tools to make the most of this land: two oak boats, the bacove and escute, tools for digging or maintaining the canals: grèpe, weslag, baguernette… But the marsh’s great particularity remains that it has been cultivated for vegetable production mainly since the 12th century. Certain vegetable varieties have survived the centuries and are an integral part of the marsh’s heritage.