In forest

Only 30 minutes from Nantes, 4500 ha of greenery awaits you! The Gâvre forest offers a range of activities, whether you are in search of peace and quiet, an avid naturalist or looking to take a stroll with your children.

The forest yesterday and today

The Gâvre forest is the largest National forest in Brittany."Gavre" comes from the Celtic-Breton word "GAOR" which means goat or deer which, by mutation, became "gavr". Property of the counts of Nantes in the eleventh century, this forest became the estate of the Dukes of Brittany; then a Royal Forest by the reunion of Brittany with ‘France’ following the wedding of Anne of Brittany with Charles VIII, December 6, 1491. After the Revolution, it became public. It is worth noting that until 1830, over a third of the forest (1700 ha) was devoted to agriculture as "grazing land." residents of Gavre had common grazing rights and indeed for several centuries, the population of Gâvre lived off the forest. They were loggers, hewers, carters, clog makers, coalmen, circlers, suppliers of bark for tanneries .
The forest has adapted to the needs of society. First a refuge and place of hunting and gathering for man; it provided heating and timber, and then marine wood to build the ships in the military ports of Nantes, Brest and Lorient; it provided a source of energy for forges, glass factories and tanneries as industry developed.
Made up half of hardwoods (sessile oak, beech, service tree, cherry) and half of softwood (pine, Maritime and Corsican pine), the management of the forest today has 3 objectives to: protect this sensitive and fragile natural environment , produce quality timber and welcome the public in partnership with the County Council 44.

Forest activities for all the family

  • Get out your hiking boots or hop on your bike! Kilometers of tracks pleasantly sheltered by trees. For the more athletic you can participate in the mountain bike competition 'Raid VTT du Chene au Duc' the last Sunday in October.
  • Develop your tracking skills and learn to recognize prints and signs left by the forest animals Optical illusions!
  • Practice your photography skills, exploit the light and colours and create your own atmosphere.
  • Witness the rutting season: in autumn, the call of the stag rings out throughout the forest, announcing the breeding season. To maximise your chance to observe this impressive ritual, go with a guide.
  • Share myths and legends: follow in footsteps of the monk Guénael along the interpretative path "Once upon a time deep in the forest."
  • Go mushroom picking : A must in October! Follow the advice of a guide and find porcini, chanterelle mushrooms amongst others.
  • Or simply adopt the Zen attitude at one with nature, forget time, simply relax and recharge the batteries.

For all information about Forest of Gâvre and to organise outings: Visit the Forestry Center!

This fun area, which has a tourism quality certificate, will help you discover different aspects of the Gâvre Forest: biodiversity, forest management, wood crafts, local history ... Throughout the year different nature discovery outings are organised (reserve in advance) and tailor made visits, talks and guided tours can be organised for groups on request. Groups: all year by reservation, animated forest outings, lectures and guided tours of the Forest Center Museum are all possible.