Print Posted By Lost in France on 22 Sep 2005 in French Regions - Brittany

Huelgoat's Enchanted Forest

Le Chaos de Rochers - HuelgoatLying between Morlaix and Carhaix just off the D764 in Brittany is the small town of Huelgoat, its name is taken from the Breton for high - huel and wood - koat, it is popular with tourists and boasts a large population of British expats. Huelgoat town is in itself very picturesque and pleasantly situated on the shores of a large pretty lake which was artificially created in the 16th century to supply water to silver and lead mines which were the areas main industry at the time. Today the lake looks perfectly natural and you wouldn't know it was man made and there are plenty of cafes and bars where you can sit and watch the water or the world go by.

Grotte Du DiableBut Huelgoat's main attraction has really got to be its beautiful and often overlooked magically enchanted forest. Literally just off the town center and covering an area of 10 square kilometres the forest of Huelgoat abounds with amazing gigantic mossy boulders and sparkling clear pools as the river Argent winds its way through the trees. To access the forest just walk from the town down to the lake and around to the right where the bridge lies, just a few steps across the road takes you into the forest.

Huelgoat forest - looking across the riverThere are plenty of marked paths and trails allowing you to walk in a circular route through the forest and you can even while away some time in the creperie a large pretty Swiss like wooden chalet built in the forest.

Follow the main path and your first stop should be Le Chaos de Rochers or the Chaos of Rocks and the Grotte Du Diable or Cave of the Devil. Here the water from the lake plunges dramatically ten meters below ground into a large cavern, the noise of the water is thundering and if your brave enough to climb down the slippery rocks and steep iron ladder its well worth a visit - but take care!

After the Grotte the river continues underground for a short distance before re-emerging and winding its way through the forest sometimes widening into fairy pools with stepping stones and small bridges.

Mossy water worn boulders - Huelgoat forestAll around are the beautifully moulded water smoothed boulders and rocks laid out in seemingly impossible positions which make this place so special and who knows if you look hard enough you may even see the odd Fée or Korrigan (fairies) that are supposed to inhabit the forest.

Further into the forest is Le Camp d'Artus an ancient hill fort and supposedly one of King Arthur's many last resting places and the La Roche Tremblante a massive boulder weighing 137 tonnes which is precariously balanced in such a way that it can be be rocked by the weight of just one person - if you can find the exact place to push against it.

A stone bridge across the river Argent in the heart of the forestOn your way back out of the forest stop for a while at the war memorial next to the natural spring which runs across the path.

The memorial honours the many local people who fought in the French resistance and who lost their lives in the forest of Huelgoat bravely fighting against German occupation.
 

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