L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest

A hidden megalithic gem

Picture 1 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 2 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 3 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 4 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 5 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 6 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest Picture 7 L'île aux Pies et le Canal de Nantes à Brest

The Landes de Cojoux, 28 miles (45km) south of Rennes, is Brittany’s second largest megalithic site; to the west of the village of St-Just is a collection of stone structures that is unique in Europe. The surrounding moorland is recognised for the diversity of its flora and fauna.

Get back to nature

Start at the Maison Nature et Mégalithes, where you’ll learn about the rapport between man and nature from Neolithic times to the present day. The centre organises guided tours of the site, which has been inhabited for around 7000 years, or you can follow a 4.3 miles (7km) round trail accompanied by an information leaflet. There’s a boulangerie and a patîsserie in the village if you want to take a picnic.

Turned to stone

The megalithic structures in this area date from Neolithic times, when man began to settle in one place, to the Bronze Age; they were mainly used for burial or religious purposes but it’s also thought that some might have been sanctuaries. The earliest structures in the Landes de Cojoux are the two dolmens in Croix-St-Pierre, which were rearranged in the Bronze Age; the most impressive monument is the Rocher du Tréal, a covered alley, which dates back to 2500BC while the Demoiselles de Cojoux are said to be two young women who were turned to stone for dancing on the moor when they should have been in church.

A natural paradise

Brittany’s moorlands have been gradually disappearing over the past century and steps have had to be taken in order to preserve what’s left. Among the gorse, heather and rockrose you might be lucky enough to spot a Dartford warbler or, from April to September, a hoopoe or a praying mantis. Whatever time of year you’re in the area you won’t miss the distinctive Highland cattle, whose role is to keep the grass in check.

Dig it

The Landes de Cojoux are mainly situated on red schist, which is not suited to farming and which is why, until the 1960s, the area was mainly used for sheep grazing. Quarrying has been carried out here for many years and now just two quarries survive; the unique stone is used as a building material.

Did you know?

You can also follow a trail along the River Canut, along which you’ll learn about man’s relationship with the waterway.

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With TripAdvisor’s reviews from travellers

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