BARBÂTRE PINE FORESTTHE BIGGEST FOREST ON NOIRMOUTIER ISLAND
Almost as soon as you cross the bridge, Barbâtre Forest to the west will capture your gaze. Planted with large maritime pines, the largest forest on the island runs alongside the beach, combining views of the sea with the pleasant scent of undergrowth where pine needles crunch underfoot.
A DEFENCE AGAINST THE ATLANTIC
The forest of maritime pines located in the village of Barbâtre covers a total area of 145 hectares, making it the biggest forest on Noirmoutier Island. It comes into view as you exit Noirmoutier Bridge, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It was planted with seedlings: primarily maritime pines but also a few strawberry trees, evergreen oaks and cypress trees.
The wooded dunes provide some shade to the plants that need it and offer shelter to birds. A few steps from the Plage des Boucholeurs beach, La Frandière Forest plays a central role in the ecosystem of a coast facing the Atlantic. It is the last line of defence against the ocean, after the beach and the dunes. Forest rangers watch over it every day, frequently planting new young shrubs.
A natural protection against the ocean © Pascal Beltrami
Walk in Barbâtre's pines © Jean-Sébastien Evrard
A PEACEFUL, RESTORATIVE PLACE
Barbâtre’s pine forest is a long stretch of land, often with views of the sea. It provides a fantastic area for hiking, where you can walk for hours, protected from noise, and take full advantage of this natural environment. Children – islanders and holidaymakers alike – have also adopted it to play hide and seek or other adventure games.
ON FOOT IN THE PINE FOREST: FOLLOW THE GUIDE!
Trail length: 8-10 km total (out and back), approx. 3 hours
Highlights: The fresh scent of the pines, the dunes, the Atlantic and the peace and quiet.
Dive into a large forest of maritime pines and cypress trees. The site is unique on the island, with the pine forest running along the beach and a strip of dunes protected from urbanization. From the Pointe de la Fosse headland at the southern tip of the island, the trail is completely waymarked and sheltered from the wind. And yet, the Atlantic Ocean is always within reach. The walk is a pleasant one, even for children, especially because other ramblers are few and far between, and the terrain is relatively flat. Plus, Barbâtre is barely a 5 km hike. Once you get there though, you’ll have to make a choice: go back through the pine forest, along the firebreak trail which winds past homes as it follows the verge, or opt instead to walk under the shelter of the dyke on the bay side to discover a whole other facet of Noirmoutier Island.
BY BICYCLE: "FROM GOIS TO FORESTS"
Trail length: 23.3 km, approx. 2½ hours
Highlights: Unique, major sites visible along the path, and the peacefulness of preserved nature.
Starting from the Barbâtre Tourist Information Office, discover unique, preserved nature sites: the Sébastopol Polder and the Gois Passage. To the west, ride along the Atlantic Ocean, passing through dunes and maritime pine forests until you reach the Bonhomme oyster port.