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The Gigantic Boulders of Huelgoat Forest

The Gigantic Boulders of Huelgoat Forest

Imagine a day out where you can descend to the Devil's Cave, clamber to the heights of the Great Trembling Rock, pass the Chaos Mill and the rushing streams - in the Forest of Huelgoat, there are so many legendary spots and breath-taking sights that it's a day you'll never forget.

A magnificent state-owned Forest

Nestling in the heart of the Arrée Mountains, in the Armorique Natural Regional Park you'll find the town of Huelgoat, which in Breton means 'the wood from above'. This town is bordered by a 37-acre lake, and is on the outskirts of a state-managed forest that extends over some 2500 acres. Here, you'll find the roots of countless legens born from the fascinating natural setting that has been forged by centuries of nature's fine work.

The truly unforgettable sight on arriving in the Forest of Huelgoat is the astonishing array of rocks and moss-covered boulders, looking for all the world as if they were discarded by giants. They follow the course of the River d'Argent all through the forest and are some of the most astonishing natural formations you're likely to see - best of all, it's free to explore and children love clambering about these over-sized boulders. 

The rocks themselves were formed in the depths of the earth, liquid mass fused together then gravitating towards the earth's crust. Erosion would gradually have brought them to the light of day, some rolling down the slopes until they gathered together in the chaos we see today.

Birthplace of legends

Legend has it that...
... Gargantua stopped at Huelgoat, struck by hunger, and asked the locals for something to eat. They only offered him boiled buckwheat broth that barely eased his hunger. Furious, he swore revenge and went elsewhere. Once he reached the richer lands of Léon, he satisfied his appetite then he took some of the round boulders from the sea and hurled them towards Huelgoat. They fell all along the river and throughout the Forest, creating the spectacle we see today....
Beech, oak, chestnut trees and more dominate the Huelgoat landscape, where moss and ferns flourish in the uniquely humid conditions. Some of the plantlife here is exceptional, unique in all of Europe.
There are certainly some geological curiosities to enjoy here, not least the Great Trembling Rock that can be climbed and made to move (a feat seemingly impossible given its mass) and the Grotte d'Artus which looks like a great cavern. There's also a chasm with an impressive and terribly powerful waterfall, or dare yourself to descend into the belly of the Devil's Cave, as long as you leave time to see the Fairy Pond and the Boars' Pool. You'll start of at the watermill, then you can freely follow any of the signposted pathways through the forest or even opt for a guided visit to learn more about this magical forest.
Follow in the footsteps of painters and writers who have been inspired and fascinated by this place - you'll soon see why. 

Video of Central Finistère (with English subtitles)

You will discover parish closes, typical of Brittany, the canal from Nantes to Brest, Châteauneuf-du-Faou and its numerous locks and lock-keepers' cottages, the lively culture of central Finistère (fest-noz, the famous festival Les Vieilles Charrues), the celtic myths and the forest of Huelgoat, the mounts and peaks offering a magnificent view of Finistère... Presented by Claire Arlaux, a fascinating journalist and writer!

How to get here

Once you are in or near Huelgoat, park up and head for the lake and weir of the Rivière d'Argent. Across the road you'll see the path leading down near the watermill called the Moulin du Chaos, which is the best starting point for exploring the forest. Also in Huelgoat you can find hotels, campsites, restaurants and crêperies.

Find out more on www.huelgoat-carhaix-tourisme.com/

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