The forest of Bertranges
Located less than 5 km from La Charité-sur-Loire, the forest of Bertranges is the second-biggest oak forest in France, after the forest of Tronçais. There are many ways to discover the forest, with signposted walking, riding and cycling tracks.

France’s second-largest oak forest

History
The forest was given to the priory in La-Charité-sur-Loire in 1121, and was enlarged several times before becoming state property during after the revolution. The forest of Bertranges now covers almost 10,000 hectares and shelters a rich plant and animal ecosystem.

Economic activity
The timber industry has an important economic role in the Nièvre and La Charité, with sawmills, timber merchants, barrel and shook makers.

To discover
Keen hikers or gentle ramblers can benefit from the charm of this forest in all seasons, with its plantations of century-old trees, sunny glades and fountains. Walkers will find the numerous deer living here irresistible and the shady paths criss-crossing the forest (including the path to Santiago de Compostela) also attract horse-riders and cyclists. The autumn is the best season to visit, for mushroom picking and listening to the stag’s bell. Some special spots cannot be missed:
- the reserve roundabout, the starting point for many walks,
- the Grand-Mare site, with its hunting kennels,
- the various fountains – ‘la Vache’, ‘des Bougers’, or ‘de Vaux’…

Relics of a metalworking heritage

As well as the timber industry, the forest also had a thriving metallurgical industry which has now totally disappeared. Iron-ore extraction gave rise to a prosperous local industry, as can still be seen in the names of some of the villages (Beaumont-la-Ferrière, Saint-Aubin-des-Forges…) and the old forges with remnants of blast furnaces and the reservoirs used to power them. The iron was used for heavy industry (anchors for the navy, for example) or to make files (a beautiful collection of which can be seen in the Municipal Museum in La-Charité). The port in La Charité, which was very busy in the times when the Loire was still navigable, enabled the metallurgical industry to develop. The Loire and the forest of Bertranges has always been linked, leaving a rich historical and cultural heritage to the region.

Hikes
The tourist office proposes index cards (forms) of hikes (rides) cyclo or pedestrian (1€), to discover the forest of Bertranges. Among them: Concerning pedestrian, the circuit Fountains in Bertranges from the village of Raveau, allows to discover the forest by its big bridle paths and passes in front of (comes before) 3 fountains: les Bougers, la Vache et les Vaquets, 11 km; Concerning cyclo, the route Ferns and Mushrooms, from The Charity, crosses the forest by the village of Raveau until Murlin. 28 km.
Information : office de tourisme.

The club of hike (ride), The Boots of Chaulgnes situated in the village of the same name, proposes hikes (rides) in Bertranges, generally from the village.
Information : 06 32 21 77 35 – Mr Bottine

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Forêt des Bertranges
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Ecureuil en Bertranges
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Randonnée en Bertranges
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