If you are looking for a woodland walk, or maybe a mushroom gathering expedition, you will be spoilt for choice in Brittany’s many national forests.
You can observe and be fascinated by the wildlife and the gorgeous woodland scents will be a tonic to recharge those batteries.
You will probably feel small up against the giant granite rocks in Huelgoat Forest. A special feature of this forest is the trembling rock (la Roche Tremblante) which weighs close to 137 tonnes. It will certainly leave a lasting impression, if you manage to shake it.
The mushroom (le Campignon) is another rock which makes you feel like, in this forest, legends are still very much alive.
Just a stone’s throw from the city in Brittany’s capital Rennes, is a vast forest that is popular with city dwellers looking for a nice Sunday stroll and the more dedicated walkers. There is a network of broad paths, where you can really get a breath of fresh air. The forest is within easy reach of the city and consists of beeches, oaks and Scots pines. Around the edges of ponds and streams which run through the forest you will find a varied flora and fauna.
The Forest of Broceliande
Brittany’s largest forest is a paradise for nature lovers and ramblers. Broceliande is a vision of beauty with trees such as the chestnut tree at the Pas aux Biches, Guillotin’s oak and Ponthus’s beech. The forest has a reputation for magic, with fairies and little Breton leprechauns ‘korrigans’ being said to be found here. Broceliande is also infused in the legend of Merlin the wizard and Viviane, the lady of the lake.
Going for a walk in the forest in Brittany usually involves collecting mushrooms. Not too far from Belle-Isle-en-Terre you will find the beautiful Beffou forest. It’s the highest forest in Brittany and the perfect place for finding bolets (ceps or porcini) and girolles. On Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday and Public holidays, throughout the year, keen mushroom hunters on the lookout for Gourmet treats hope to bag the best specimens. Just don’t forget your mushroom knives and baskets.
In this 1,700-hectare national forest, beeches reign supreme. Here you will find an alignment of around 50 standing stones known as the Line of Druides (le Cordon des Druides).
A gallery grave with an impressive capstone that’s split in two, the Pierre Courcoulee is not far away. There is also an underground gallery of stone arches called the cellars of Landean (les Celliers de Landean) which are still very much a mystery.
Bordered by the gorgeous Laita river, the forest stretches as far as Quimperle. The paths in this former royal forest can be enjoyed by walkers and horse riders.
There is a truly spectacular view of the river below and the path which leads to the Chateau de Carnoet from the top of a rocky knoll called ‘Rocher Royal’. Legend has it that the Chateau was home of ‘Barbe Bleue’ Cornouaille’s answer to Bluebeard.
There is a vast expanse of woodland that shouldn’t be missed. Tucked away not far from Guerledan lake and Bon Repos abbey in the heart of this forest is a historic metalworking village called Les Forges des Salles that has been preserved in all its glory to this very day.
There are a number of sites along the way that are designated areas of outstanding natural beauty and are ideal places to stop for a breather. The Stand Er Lhuren gorges, the Brevil du Chene (panoramic viewpoint) and the ‘saut du Chevreuil (Deer’s Leap, a steep escarpment) are all truly wonderful…