MANOIR MALVOISINE – a little corner of trout fishing paradise in Normandy
If I were to come back as a trout I know exactly where I’d like to live. It’s in a secret corner of Normandy in France on a beautiful stretch of a river called the Andelle.
And in particular, a one mile private stretch flowing through grounds of the magnificent estate of Manoir Malvoisine. Malvoisine is a stunning, fortified manor house with a long and tumultuous history and situated on the banks on the Andelle. It’s appearance suggests little has changed since the 12th century when it was first mentioned as a “Fief de Haubert’ and connected to the king of France.
The Andelle is a true chalk stream, which being fed by underground aquifers rarely floods or dries up. This private one-mile stretch has been lost in time and retains much of the ancient landscape, with the manoir itself situated midway and making a magnificent visual contribution to the wild setting. Before the current owners, Adrian and Hedy Thomson, bought the estate three years ago it had been the property of a Belgian aristocrat who over the previous thirty years had only ever used it as a hunting lodge to pursue his passion for wild game. In all that time the river was never fished and the original strain of wild trout exist to this day because stocking was never necessary or undertaken.
The Andelle river is high in the pantheon of French trout streams, not least because it was a favourite of legendary French fisherman, Charles Ritz, scion of the original Ritz Hotel family: innovative fly tyer, rod maker of international repute in the 30’s and 40’s and oft times fishing companion to Frank Sawyer, the doyen of English nymph fishing. This particular stretch of L’Andelle has its own special place in more recent history as a secret meeting place between Churchill and Eisenhower (both lovers of fly fishing) after the success of the Normandy landings.
The Andelle, being a natural river with very little intervention from man, offers technically challenging fly-fishing for it’s famous wild brown trout, which are indigenous to the waters. A third of the river flows through wetlands of dense alder and willow where single-bank access has been opened. The remaining double-bank stretch meanders through water meadows where wild flowers and grasses line the margins. The manoir is also a member of the U.K.’s Wild Trout Trust whose advice shapes the management and improvement of the river. To support the initiative, there is a catch and release policy where the use of barbless hooks is mandatory.
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