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Tatihou - Left : Vauban's tower - Right : Ilet's fort

Tatihou is an island of Normandy in France with an area of 290,000 square metres. It is located to the east of the Cotentin peninsula just off the coast near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. It is almost uninhabited, and is usually reached by amphibious boat although, being a tidal island, it is also possible at low tide to walk there over the local oyster beds. Access to the island is limited to 500 visitors per day.

Contents

History

Tatihou, like many of the islets of the Channel Islands contains the -hou suffix.

In 1692 the naval Battle of La Hougue took place between the English and the French close to the island of Tatihou. In 1756 the surroundings of La Hougue were defended by many batteries and forts, but the lack of regular maintenance ensured that these quickly fell into disrepair. In 1720 Tatihou was used for quarantining plague victims from Marseilles.

On 10 December 1803, the 36-gun frigate HMS Shannon grounded on Tatihou. All her crew survived to be captured by troops from a battery. The next day a party from HMS Merlin burned Shannon to prevent her arms and stores falling into French hands.

Shannon on shore, by Edward Pelham Brenton, c.1803, in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Culture

Tatihou has hosted a small folk festival since 1995, Les Traversées de Tatihou, every August 15. The hours are selected according to the tides to allow the festival goers home. The island also hosts music courses several times a year.

Flora and fauna

An ornithological reserve was founded in 1990 with an area of 30,000 square metres. The island is a stopping place for many migrating birds, including the Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Shelduck, Little Egret, Eider, Wigeon, Yellow-legged Gull. There is also a botanical garden on the island.

External links

Coordinates: 49°35′20″N 1°14′36″W / 49.58889°N 1.24333°W / 49.58889; -1.24333

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