Le Boel (Bruges)
Hiking along the Villaine Valley
Le Boel is a little paradise for hikers, trail runners, cyclists and mountain bikers. It is a protected natural area, a particularly picturesque landscape of valleys and moors, especially when the bell heather and gorse are in flower. From the schist cliffs or along the towpath, one can also observe birds of prey such as yellowhammer, white warbler, European nightjar, kingfisher and Saint-Martin harrier.
- Circuit: Many hiking trails are available for walking from Boel. The GR39 long-distance circuit follows the ridge and offers impressive views of the Villains, the Lock and the Moulin du Boel. Follow the red and white signs starting from the old quarry, Bruges side. Other marked circuits on the other side (Guichen-Pont-Ran direction) at the level of the lock rise above the moors. And for those who don’t really like hills and technical trails, or for a quiet family outing, there are miles of towpath available to you. See map.
Lormandière Site (Chartres-de-Bretagne)
Discovering lime kilns and a protected natural area
Just 10 kilometers south of Rennes is an amazing place: La Lormandière. A former industrial site where lime was made from the limestone subsoil is now home to a specific flora. Classified as a natural area of ecological, floristic and faunal interest (ZNIEFF), the site is home to rare species of orchids: bee ophrys, pyramidal orchid and goat orchid. The old lagoon colored quarries provide a favorable environment for many species of birds.
- Tour: A discovery trail goes around the site and pond. It is punctuated with panels that speak of the industrial past and natural heritage of La Lormandière. Count on about an hour with the exit from the car park, some good climbs and descents and nice views of the pond. See map.
Rohuel Valley (Orchard)
Circuit between moor and forest in far-west landscape
Don’t go too far. Head to the town of Le Verger for a varied hiking experience in the heart of the Vallée Rouge et Verte du Rohuel. A ZNIEFF classified site (Natural Area of Ecological, Floristic and Faunistic Interest) where you can see the landscape of the Moors, with bocage, especially in the former red shale quarry, cliffs worthy of a western environment!
- Circuit: For experienced hikers, two circuits are marked from the church: between Serain and Rohuel (10 km, approx. 2h40, yellow sign) and two valley circuits (13.7 km, 3h30, yellow sign). The two circuits intersect at points that leave the possibility of creating variants. These circuits are labeled by the hiking federation which guarantees their good maintenance and their markup for hikers.
Olivet’s Prairies (Montgermont)
An oasis of biodiversity
Olivet’s wet meadows have been classified as an LPO refuge since 2011. Hence it is a small paradise for less than fifty different species of birds. You can also observe wild orchids in the network of ponds, streams and bocage hedges. A small oasis protected from urbanization that is easily accessible from the city.
- Tour: 3 km, round trip, about 45 minutes. Access from Montgermont town center by a pedestrian/cyclist bridge. See map.
Alley of Haichois (Mordelles)
Take a leisurely walk to observe the fauna and flora
Head southwest of Rennes to Mordeles for an immersion in a region rich in natural and architectural heritage. Near the old Roman road that linked Vannes with Rennes, the Allée de la Haichois. An impressive progression through the forest, surrounded by lime trees, oaks and beech, leads to the land of the same name (private property). In this undergrowth where many arboreal species nest (green woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatch, garden creeper), rare animals can be carefully observed: barn owl, spotted salamander, marble newt… Take time to breathe in this protected area especially With diverse flora.
- Tour: Since 2019, a new circuit “La Voie du Meu” is accessible to hikers. A 10km loop course that passes through the alleys of Haichois after a short tour along the pond and Mew. In the absence of trail signs, follow the blue signs for short hikes. The more adventurous can stretch along the river with the revolution trail (17 km).
The Wood of Souvres (Verne-sur-Seiche)
Walk into the heart of forest heritage
In the Portes de Rennes, the Bois de Souvres covers approximately 115 hectares and is laid out by the Île-et-Villain department. It is home to a rich botanical and animal diversity, characteristic of the Breton undergrowth. Its wetlands also harbor batrachians. The wood of Soeuvres is a walking area with many pedestrian and equestrian circuits.
- Tour: 3.7km loop starting from car park, blue sign. Easily accessible by bicycle from Rennes.
Bocage des Gaudriers – Thorigny-Fouillard
Return to nature in “wild” mode
At the edge of the vast national forest of Rennes, this natural spot in the Breton Bocage landscape is a popular walking spot for runners and mountain bikers who venture a little deeper into the forest. You follow the large forest path, and some passages down, for a loop that passes in front of the Manor du Gaudrier. If you keep your eyes peeled and are discerning, you can find many species that have found a haven of peace on this site once dedicated to agriculture. Some of the 400 plant and animal species are very rare and protected, such as the crested newt, alpine newt and green tree frog.
- Tour: 3 km unmarked loop. The starting point from the Landes de Billé car park, accessible on foot via a shady path from Thorigné or the Manor. See map.
Ille-et-Vilaine, a very natural department
Ille-et-Vilaine is full of protected natural areas. About sixty are protected by the General Assembly and are open to the public. Find the natural sites described above on our map. Sites of interest for their fauna, their flora or their history are privileged places for walks and hikes. Places that are fragile and should be protected by adopting good practices: stay on marked trails, don’t disturb animals or pick plants without permission, keep dogs on a leash if allowed, don’t throw anything into nature, don’t set fire, only as directed Park in the car park…