walking in Brittany

Walking in Brittany .... and cycling

All around our gites are paths to explore- ideal for both walkers and cyclists. Brittany is one of the most tranquil and scenic places to take a trip off the beaten track and meander along woodland trails and canal towpaths. Not only can you follow all of the signposted circuits but you are also allowed to walk or cycle anywhere in the countryside as long as you respect the crops and the odd, very rare private property sign. We have people who come back and stay with us every year and go on completely different walks each time. The choice is virtually limitless

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How do we help ?

If you plan on walking in Brittany then visit one of our our gites and we'll make sure that our special walkers/ cyclists pack is waiting in the cottage ready for your arrival. Just ask when you book

So that you don't have to waste your valuable holiday time researching all of the different walks and cycle routes we have done it for you. All of the information contained in our guides is described below -no's 1-5

1. Map Cards

Individual portfolio of map cards with circuits/ routes marked out There is an individual collection of thirty map cards, each describing a different route. Each card has its own map (to scale). On the back of the card there is a description of the places of interest you will see along the way: e.g chapels, canals, villages, restaurants etc Also shown is whether the path is suitable for walkers and/ or cyclists, how long it is, if it's easy or difficult and how many hours it will take to walk. The card also tells you what type of path it is so you know whether it's a rural or a town circuit. Car parks are clearly marked. Each route is a circle so you end up back at the car. They are perfect both for those just wanting a gentle stroll right through to the more dedicated ramblers/ cyclists

Here's a sample of just two of the thirty map cards. They are all laid out the same way
I.. Windmills and manor houses card 11.5km, 2 hours 45 mins. Gentle. Scenic. Goes via numerous mills and chapels and country houses
II. Circuit Botanical card 7km, 2 hours. Gentle but some hills. These paths run through the woods and include informative signs explaining the forty different species of trees along the way. Below is what a card actually looks like -front and back

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2. Canal Route Guide

We supply a booklet devoted solely to river and canal routes. There are forty five different choices offered with the option of seven different rivers or canals. The guide shows the route plus information of what there is to see, where to park the car and where to stop for lunch. There's some great towpaths to go along especially beside the Nantes-Brest Brittany canal The shots below are at St Congard and Malestroit -less than 15 mins from the gites

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The Ile aux Pies just past La Gacilly is a beautiful spot by the river and a great place for rambling. If you like walking you get the best of all worlds; take a leisurely stroll along the river bank, hike up the steep cliff paths and then wander through the sunny forests at the top. The smell of fresh pines in summer is really strong

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3. Family Walks Booklet

In here you will find twenty five walks specially selected for families. They should be suitable for everyone from children to grandparents and range in length from one and a half to over three hours in total

malestroit tourism

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4. Special Walks

If you really fancy walking or cycling round a lake, or along an old -but now tarmaced- railway line then take a look at some of these specialised walks. You can even opt for the stunning 'Hydrangea Walk' if flowers are your thing

5. Detailed local map

This Brittany Series Bleue Map (No 1020E) is the most detailed map you can get hold of. It shows all the local tracks and paths on it You are free to wander or cycle virtually anywhere you see a track

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Take a tour of the huge Lac au Duc - a 16km / four hour stroll around a beautiful lake. Why not go to Montertelot and try the famous Canal to Rocks walk ?

If you fancy something more 'lively' at Reminiac try the 'Necklace of Reminiac' route which runs for 11km through the forest. You can see lots of hand carved wooden sculptures along the way and also pop into the restaurant for lunch as you go. You can walk to the route from the gite's front door

Another really nice lake walk albeit a shorter one at less than an hour is at Carrentoir. Here you can stroll along the paths, go over bridges onto an island, have a picnic on one of the benches whilst admiring the great views or if you prefer pop into the Pre Gallo, the lakeside auberge. The restaurant is great value traditional Brittany cuisine and has nice views right across the lake- a place to eat lovely outside in the summer sun

Carrentoir is also the starting point for two longer walks and you can set off by bike or foot along the marked paths for miles. Alternatively try the 'Walk of the Dukes' around the ancient town of Ploermel

The Voie Verte

The Green Lane is an old railway line that has now been tarmaced over. It is absolutely perfect for cycling, walking or even roller skating and is a great way to discover the area. The route is about forty miles long, almost flat and winds its way through spectacular countryside. The track is split into manageable portions between the main towns and villages. There's a map available showing you where you can get food and drinks along the way at auberges or creperies. Take a picnic or just stop off to see the sights. It's a great way to see the Brittany countryside

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Ile aux Moines

This island In the Golfe Du Morbihan is a great place for walkers and cyclists alike. Nip down to Port Blanc near Vannes, catch the half hourly boat out to this beautiful island and then either hire a bike -right at the quay side- or go walking. The whole island is really attractive and you can either wander around the town or spread out and take it all in. There are plenty of restaurants for lunch as well with a lot of freshly caught seafood on offer

Damgan Boulevard

At Damgan there's a long flat, smooth promenade right along the seafront which stretches for several kilometres with plenty of benches along the way

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The Fairy Walk

In Monteneuf you will find a very odd walk. It`s not signposted and not at all obvious but starts behind the lake............ It`s a tiny little path through the forest and all along the way `the fairies` (as our children think) have made all sorts of odd creations from the forests materials. There are tiny houses made of sticks, twigs and moss, bigger versions of haphazardly piled up slate, fir cones mysteriously hanging across the path tied to invisible string. There are odd shapes suspended between the trees, campfires/ meeting places and even at one point a `games` spot where you throw fir cones through hoops and into woven baskets 

The whole walk is very bizarre and you could almost believe that fairies have been at work..........perhaps they have. Click on the triangular arrow in the centre of the picture below to see for yourself

 

Cliff Walks

Go to Sarzeau and stroll along the spectacular cliff tops and discover the dozens of totally secluded hidden sandy bays - great for a picnic

The cliff top walk at Batz-sur-Mer is stunning. Batz itself is a really nice small town further down the coast from La Baule The town square is traditional in every way, packed with flowers and cafes with tables and chairs filling the restaurants Not only that but there's the miles of cliff top walks along the coastline which are quite breathtaking

The Pointe du Raz is the most western point in Brittany (and in fact France). Next stop is America and the cliffs there really do take your breath away...

pointe du raz

Bike Hire

I foyu haven't got a bike but fance cycling in Brittany you can easily hire bikes. Just go to the Tourist Information (or the lawnmower shop) at Malestroit. Choose either to hire by the day or the week. Prices are about fifteen Euros per day or sixty Euros per week. Also, Damgan has a cycle hire shop with a large choice of bikes just off the beach. At the tourist info in Guer you can hire electric bikes as well as charge up electric cars

If you do hire a bike at Damgan then cycle up the promenade to the next village -Penerf. It's well worth the effort as it's a lovely ride and there's a really spectacular bay to see once you're there. If fancy lunch after all that exercise then try the Pecher or Bistro de la Mer, you can't miss them

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The Velopark

As you can no doubt guess this is a place for cyclists. Near Pontivy it's a hundred acre park set in the heart of the forest. There's a bike museum, loads of cycle routes to follow, a shop and even a rather fine bar

Track and Paths....

All around the gites themselves the countryside is great for walking and cycling. Just step outside the door and start exploring....

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Birdwatching

If you are keen on birds then Brittany is a great place to visit. I've compiled a short list below of some of the more common birds that you can see:

Chaffinch, Robin, Green Finch, Rook, Eurasian Jay, Short Toed Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Blackcap, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Rock Pipit, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Hammer, Hawk, Osprey, Nuthatch, Firecrest, Woodlark, Little Egret, White Wagtail, Serin, Garden Warbler, Sparrow, House Martin, Starling, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Hoopoe, Green Heron, Grey Wagtail, Collar Dove, Song Thrush, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Great Tit, Tern, Turtle Dove, Goldfinch, Cuckoo, Kestrel, Stonechat, Cirl Buntin, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon, Jay, French Partridge, Dunnock, Long Tail Tit, Kingfisher, European Shag, Pheasant, Hen Harrier

This list is by no means exhaustive but is just some of the birds that our guests have told me that they have seen here

brittany birdwatching

 

Worth a special visit is Brittanys huge Golfe du Morbihan about half an hour away. This is a designated nature reserve and there are special bird watching hides set up on the southern side of the bay that you can visit. Pay an entrance fee of five Euros (free for children) and then you can wander around all day from hide to hide

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