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MERVENT FOREST

  Mervent forest 12k from Fontenay le Comte and is the largest forest in the south Vendée, crowning a string of hills the forest consists of over 5000 hectares of mainly beech trees (hêtres), oak trees (chênes) and sweet chestnut trees (frênes). The forest, is both publicly and privately owned, and is a haven of tranquillity for both people and wildlife alike. Amongst the deep tree lined ravines and wide clearings Pink Asphodel and Yellow Broom proliferate, and under the trees as one would expect the ground contains an abundance of the types of edible fungi that are so highly prized by the local gourmets. The lakes contain a profusion of Perch, Pike, Carp and Eels and fishermen are plentiful, the lakes also contain the normal amphibians including edible frogs, which are now illegal to catch and kill. The forest is home to a wide variety of birds including Black Kites, Kingfishers, the extremely rare Short Toed Eagle and two rare varieties of Magpie. Among the many mammals both Deer and wild Boar can be found and during the season there is a vibrant hunting community.
Mervent Forest. View of the forest and lake from the remains of the old castle of Mervent
The lake in Mervent forest.
The hard wood forest of Mervent
fishermen of the lake at Mervent.
The river vendee in the Mervent forest.
The restaurant over looking the lake at Mervent.
Officially known as The Mountain forest of Mervent-Vouvant
Situated on the foot of the Armorican Massif.
The forest has been laid out with over 200 kilometres of well marked footpaths and offers some of the best walks to be found anywhere in the Vendée. The local tourist office has plans of all of these walks together with distances and difficulty. Other trails are marked out for mountain biking and horse riding. The forest rises steeply from the banks of the lakes and affords stunning views and in several places you can get dramatic panoramic views over the canopy of trees to the lakes and river below. This belies the description of this area as a small hilltop forest barely 10 miles across perched on top of a granite plateau.
Two rivers the Mère and the Vendée flow through the forest and have been dammed in four places to form lakes containing 14,000,000 cubic metres of water. The upper dam or barrage is just below Vouvant on the river Mère and controls the water level around this very pretty village, the river then meanders on through the forest until it reaches the barrage at Pierre Brune. Just below this barrage is the Fun park of Pierre Brune one of the many attractions in the forest, from here the river flows south through the forest and passes under the bridge in the village of Mervent. The lake is at its widest here and supports a beach where you can swim and a nautical centre where you can hire sail boats, canoes, kayaks and electric boats. Bicycles can also be hired here (tarifs 2008). Probably the best vantage point to see the panoramic of the forest and lake is from the village hall in Mervent standing on the last remains of the castle de Mervent and looking out across the forest towards the confluence of the two rivers the Mère and the Vendée. From here the River Vendee flows on for a further 3 kilometres until it arrives at the Barrage de Mervent.
Le Barrage de Mervent, the main dam in the lake complex, is 145 metres long, 26.5 metres high and commenced operation in 1956. It provides drinking water for Fontenay Le Compte and the local area, generates electricity and regulates the flow of the river Vendée as it makes its way through the marshland preventing flooding in the low lying areas. On the road just above Le Barrage de Mervent is the Park Zoological de Mervent, within its 5 hectares of grounds there are over five hundred animals, a cactus collection. Though small it is very popular with families as they have a small petting farm where the children are introduced to the friendly residents.

The Mervent forest is one of the jewels of the Vendée and no matter what time of the year you visit it will always have treasures to reveal. It has some great restaurants and these can be viewed on our restaurants in the Mervent area, many of them reviewed by "Tate" our resident Critique Gastronomique.

Other activities within the mervent forrest.

Mervent adventures

The Parc d'acrobaties.
34  Chemin du Chene Tord.
70 games and activities up in the trees.
4 courses of varying difficulty  to find your limits, test your courage and agility.

La Jamoniere Ecomuseum and pond.
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The Grande Perrure.
  Teaching farm and retro park.
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Rock climbing at Pierre Blanche. Though mainly for beginners, experienced climbers also use this area for experimenting.
Video Mervent Forest