The Forest of La Coubre, on Foot, Cycling, Riding, by Car
We are very proud of the forest of La
Coubre which is one of the jewels of the Pays Royannais and
It covers more than 5 000 hectares bordering the coast along the
peninsula of Arvert.
It's an easy forest to reach, set against a relief of dunes,
airy, clear and penetrated by shafts of sunlight.
It is pleasant to explore the forest at any time of the year,
either walking, cycling, riding or by car.
You may be lucky enough to see two roe deers crossing a path,
which was the case during our walk in May, 2002 when most of the
photos on this page were taken, a time when the gorse and broom
added colour to the forest.
The forest was actually built by man
Although it looks so
natural today, the forest was actually built by
man. The maritime pines were planted in the19th
Century to prevent the encroachment of the sand.
The reinforcement work
on the dunes and the establishment of the forest
are on-going works and are part of a steady policy
to fight against the wind and marine erosion.
To find out more about the current conservation
programmes, you can visit the page dedicated to
the forest of La Coubre on the excellent site of
the National Office of Forests.
Although the forest forms a major part of the
touristic landscape, it is also an important
economic asset producing a large amount of timber.
To return to the storm of December, 1999, the
National Office of Forests stated that the
equivalent of ten years yield of timber was
brought down during that storm.
The collection of the
50 years ago, an activity existed which employed a
large work force but which disappeared in the
It was the gemmage, the collection of the
Some people will remember the small jars fixed to
the trunks of the pines to collect the resin.
Regarding the roads and parking areas, the
National Office of Forests has achieved some
remarkable work in restoring roads and paths made
unusable by the storm of December, 1999.
To answer an increasing demand, new routes are
regularly looked for and put into service.
The forest is gradually being restored to its
previous state but nevertheless, there are still
vast areas where the trees have been felled and
piles of timber awaiting removal.
Please note that
on Thursdays, which are set aside for hunting,
there are restrictions to certain areas and routes
in the forest.
It is possible to walk in the forest quite freely.
There are no rules for pedestrians.
following the pedestrian paths, which are clearly
marked, it is easier to find the route and general
The National Office of Forests organises conducted
tours every morning during the season, except
Sundays and holidays.
Meet at 10 am in the parking area of La Bouverie
(road 44), along the Côte Sauvage.
For further information, please telephone
Tel. 05 46 90 65 53.
It's an excellent way to discover the riches of
the forest of La Coubre and the work of the
For serious walkers, the long-distance footpath
GR4, which goes from Royan to Ronce-les-Bains and
the island of Oléron, crosses the forest of La
Coubre, from Les Mathes to Ronce-les-Bains.To find out more about the paths for hiking and
long walks ( GR) and for short walks (PR) in the
A cycle track goes through the forest for about twenty
kilometres from La Palmyre to Ronce-les-Bains. This
track is the continuation of the one which connects
Saint-Palais-sur-Mer to La Palmyre through La Grande
Cyclists have a magnificent cycle track, both along the
coast and through the forest, 30 kilometres long, that
is 60 kilometres in total, going there and back, from
Saint-Palais-sur-Mer to Ronce-les-Bains.
From La Palmyre and the lighthouse of La Coubre, the
track follows the bay of Bonne Anse. From there it
continues along to the beaches of the Côte Sauvage, and
in particular the Pointe Espagnole, where one discovers
the Pertuis de Maumusson, which separates the peninsula
of Arvert and the island of Oléron, and the dunes of
Cyclists on mountain bikes also have specific routes
marked out in the forest.
Bridle paths through the forest are at the disposal of
the equestrian clubs of the region.
For more than 30 years, the centre of equitation Le
Corral has helped tourists discover the Forest of La
Coubre and the Côte Sauvage by guiding them along the
bridle paths provided by the National Office of Forests.
To find out more about routes generally, equestrian
organisations, equestrian gîtes and all the associated
services, you can visit the site of the local Committee
We suggest you take the D25, the main road between
Palmyre and Ronce-les-Bains, approximately 20 kilometres.
From La Palmyre to
Ronce-les-Bains, 20 km,
a half-day including some pauses by the sea
and walks in the forest
We suggest you take the D25, the main road between
La Palmyre and Ronce-les-Bains, approximately 20
At the big roundabout of La Palmyre, go in the
direction of La Coubre, Ronce-les-Bains.
The road follows the bay of Bonne Anse up to the
crossroads, where you will find indicated on the
left, the small road which leads to the car park
of La Coubre lighthouse.
La Coubre lighthouse deserves a special visit.
For this route of exploration and discovery, we
suggest continuing on the D25, for approximately 4
km up to the forest house of La Bouverie, from
where a small road on the left leads to the Côte
The D25 continues, wending up and downhill and
following the line of the dunes, up to the Tour of
You should stop in the car park near to the panel
marked " Tour du Gardour, panoramic view " and
take the footpath for about 100 metres which leads
to the metal tower that acts as a geodesic site.
At this point 60 metres
above sea level, it is good to take time to
appreciate the panoramic view of the forest, the
ocean and the inside of the peninsula of Arvert.
The road then descends
quickly and at approximately 2 km after the Tour
du Gardour, take the small signposted forest road
" Pointe Espagnole " on the left.
This road ends in a car
park where you can leave the car and follow the
path which leads, through the dunes, to the sea.
The name Pointe
Espagnole comes from the wreck in 1823, of a
The impressive waves
come crashing down on to the particularly fine
The view extends as far
as the Saint-Trojan's dunes, on the island of
The D25 then goes towards Ronce-les-Bains passing
the beaches of the resort, just in front of the
island of Oléron, the beach of l'Embellie, the
beach of Galon d'Or and the beach of La Cèpe.