Brittany is made for walking and there are some excellent guide books with walks for all ages and levels. Finistere, the Fin de Terre or end of the world is particularly uncompromised in its natural and unspoilt wonders. Here are some of our favourite places. It goes without saying the GR34 footpath follow’s the hundred’s of kilometres of coastline and is stunning. This great resource is underused and you can soon feel that you are off the beaten track and in beautiful, wild and natural surroundings.
Highlights are the walks near and around the Cap de la Chevre, and the Chateau de Dinan. The area around St Hernot is often likened to Corsica, with turquoise blue waters and white cliffs. This peninsula is reknowned for its geology, and around the beach of Pors Creguen it is possible to find amethysts in the coastal footpath, and mineral veins in the cliffs below. The musee des mineraux at St Hernot is worth a visit for more information. From the back door of our house at Lostmarc’h you can quickly join the path at this breathtaking viewpoint and set off in either direction.
On the Cap Sizun, the coast from Douarnenez to the Pointe du Van and Pointe de Raz, is all unspoilt and very beautiful. You can literally go out to any of the ‘pointes’ on the map and walk in either direction. There are not many cafes, shops etc, so be sure to take a picnic.
One of our favourites is the Pointe de Brezellec on the north coast. To the right is a tiny port, and to the left is a nice walk to the Plage de Theolen. All of the north coast has stunning scenery. Highlights are Kastel Coz, and the Pointe du Millier but any part of this coast is worth the walk.
The most obvious is the ‘Pointe du Raz’. This amazing natural landmark is best if you avoid the large parking designated for tourists, and walk in on the coastal footpath. If you are feeling energetic a walk between the Pointe du Raz via the Baie de Trepasses to the Pointe du Van is very beautiful. On clear days you can see across to the Ile de Sein, and sometimes spot dolphins off some of the bays. There are small ports where fishing boats literally hang from the cliffs, the access is so steep, and small chapels perch on the cliff top.
There are other amazing little ports that shelter the fishermen who fish for sea bass in the wild waters off the coast between the anse du Loch and Pointe du Raz – see Pendreff and Penneach. The beautiful site of Feunteun Aod, is where the French government wanted to site a nuclear powerstation after the 1973 oil shock. The protests were huge and Plogoff became reknowned throughout France for the strength of opposition which thankfully paid off. All the walks on the Cap Sizun are easily accessible from our houses Ty Traez and Ty Bili
In Quimper the Gorge of Stangala has some impressive scenery. The south coast of Finistere has some beautiful river walks. There are woodland footpaths along the River Odet, past Chateau and a particularly pretty section from Combrit that ends in the Port of Sainte Marine. The Bois d’amour in Pont Aven has circular walks in the woods and you can walk along the River Aven in Gauguin’s tracks all the way to the sea. These are particularly handy if you are staying at The Gatehouse.
Inland, if you park in the town centre of Huelgoat beside the lake and the tourist office, just to the right of the small bridge with a weir there is a footpath into the amazing forest of Huelgoat with its outsized boulders and tortuous river. Maps of circular walks can be obtained from the tourist office or are well signposted. Look out for the café / librairie located in the woods at Berrien for a light lunch or snack. There are also some beautiful walks in the Monts d’Arree.