Le Boel (Bruz)
Hiking along the Vilaine Valley
Le Boël is a little paradise for hikers, trail runners, cyclists and mountain bikers. It is also a protected natural area, a particularly picturesque landscape of valleys and moors, especially when the bell heather and turf are in bloom. From the slate cliffs or along the towpaths, you can also observe birds such as the yellowhammer, the white warbler, the European nightingale, the kingfisher and birds of prey such as e.g. The Saint-Martin hawk.
- Orbit: many hiking trails are accessible to hikers from Boël. The long-distance circuit GR39 follows the top of the cliffs and offers an impressive view of Vilaine, the lock and the Moulin du Boël. Just follow the red and white markings starting from the side of the old quarry, the Bruz side. On the other side at the level of the lock (Guichen-Pont-Réan side) other marked circuits climb over the heath. And for those who don’t really like hills and technical trails, or for a quiet family outing, the towpath is available to you for miles. See map.
Lormandière site (Chartres-de-Bretagne)
Discovery of lime kilns and a protected natural area
Just 10 kilometers south of Rennes lies a fantastic place: la Lormandière. A former industrial site where lime was made from the limestone subsoil, which now contains a special flora. The site is classified as a natural zone of ecological, floristic and faunal interest (ZNIEFF), and is home to rare species of orchids: biophrys, pyramidal orchids and goat orchids. The old lagoon-coloured quarry also offers a favorable environment for many bird species.
- Trip: A discovery trail goes around the site and the pond. It is characterized by panels that tell of the industrial past and the natural heritage of La Lormandière. Departure from the car park, count about an hour with some good climbs and descents and beautiful views of the pond. See map.
Rohuel Valley (The Orchard)
Circuit between heath and forest in a landscape far to the west
No need to go far to get away from it all. 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 alternate between heathland, bocage with, especially in the former red slate quarry, cliffs worthy of a western setting!
- Orbit: for experienced hikers, two circuits are marked from the church: between Serein and Rohuel (10 km, approx. 2h40, yellow markings) and the circuit of the two valleys (13.7 km, 3h30, yellow markings). The two circuits cross each other in places, which allows for variants to be made. These circuits are marked by the Federation of Hiking, which guarantees hikers their good maintenance and their marking.
The Prairies of Olivet (Montgermont)
An oasis of biodiversity
Olivet’s wet meadows have been classified as an LPO refuge since 2011. It is therefore a small paradise for birds with no less than fifty different species. You can also observe wild orchids in a network of ponds, streams and bocage hedges. A small oasis preserved from urbanization that can be easily reached from the city.
- Trip: 3 km, round trip, approximately 45 minutes. Access via a pedestrian/cyclist bridge from the center of Montgermont. See map.
Alley of the Haichois (Mordelles)
Leisurely walk to observe fauna and flora
Head to Mordelles, southwest of Rennes, for an immersion in a territory rich in natural and architectural heritage. Near the old Roman road that connects Vannes with Rennes is the Allée de la Haichois. An impressive breakthrough in the forest, surrounded by linden trees, oaks and beeches, which leads to the manor house of the same name (private property). In this undergrowth, where many tree-dwelling species nest (green woodpecker and great woodpecker, duckweed, garden creepers), rare animals can be discreetly observed: barn owl, spotted salamander, marbled salamander… Take time to breathe in this protected area. with a particularly varied flora.
- Trip: since 2019 a new circuit has been available to hikers “La Voie du Meu”. A 10 km loop course that passes through Haichois alley after a short trip along the ponds and the Meu. In the absence of trail signs, follow the blue markings for small hikes. The more adventurous can stretch along the river with the Revolution trail (17 km).
The Wood of Souvres (Vern-sur-Seiche)
Walk in the heart of the forest’s heritage
At Portes de Rennes, the Bois de Soeuvres is planted over almost 115 hectares by the department of Ille-et-Vilaine. It is home to a rich botanical and faunal diversity, typical of the Breton undergrowth. Its wetlands also provide shelter for batrachians. The forest of Souvres is a place to walk with many pedestrians and horse tracks.
- Trip: 3.7 km loop starting from the car park, blue markings. Easily accessible by bike from Rennes.
Bocage des Gaudriers – Thorigné-Fouillard
Back to nature in a “wild” state
On the edge of the huge national forest of Rennes, this natural space, typical of Breton bocage landscapes, is a popular hiking spot for runners and mountain bikers who venture a little deeper into the forest. You take large forest paths, and a few times in the undergrowth, for a loop that passes in front of the charming Manoir du Gaudrier. If you keep your eyes open and remain discreet, you can come across many species that have found a haven of peace in this place that was once dedicated to agriculture. Among the 400 plant and animal species, some are very rare and protected, such as newts, alpine newts and the green tree frog.
- Trip: 3 km unmarked loop. Starting point from the Landes de Billé car park, accessible on foot along a shaded path from Thorigné or from the manor house. See map.
Ille-et-Vilaine, a very natural department
Ille-et-Vilaine is full of protected natural areas. About sixty are protected and open to the public by the General Council. Find the nature areas described above on our map. Places of interest for their fauna, their flora or their history, which are privileged places for walking and hiking. Spaces that remain fragile and should be protected by adopting good practices: stay on marked paths, do not disturb animals or pick plants without permission, keep dogs on a leash when they are allowed, do not throw anything in nature, do not make fires, park only in the designated parking spaces…