So much has changed since our last post. We have been very busy renovating 2 houses this time, and we are pleased to say that they are finally fully functioning. We now have a self catering holiday Gite up and running in the beautiful Brittany village of Huelgoat, Finistere. I have written all about it and included links on the About us page, so please take a look. There is a kitchen dining sitting room with wood-burning stove, on the ground floor, along with a small utility room and a toilet. There is a comfortable lounge on the first floor, and a double en-suite bedroom. There is 1 double bedroom, and 1 twin bedroom on the next floor with a shower room between the 2.
Ty Huelgoat self catering holiday Gite is located in Huelgoat, Bretagne, France.
The small town of Huelgoat in Brittany has all the essentials for a great holiday. Within the town there are shops, tourist information, small supermarkets, restaurants, bars and a weekly market. There is a lake and the famous millennia-old boulders the “Chaos”, the “Mushroom” and the “Trembling Rock” among many others.
The surrounding forest of some 1150 hectares is part of the protected Parc Naturel Régional d’Amorique. From the edge of town there are easy walks/hikes through the forest to, for instance, the iron age settlement of Arthur’s Camp and those towards the silver mines which closed in 1866. There are also walks around the lake, which was dug in the 16th Century to provide water to the mines and not far away are the moorland walks on Brittany’s highest hills, the Monts d’Arrée.
The area is rich in legends involving Arthur, King of Britain & Brittany, the Devil at the Devil’s Grotto, Giants creating the famous boulders and many more.
There is evidence that the area was settled as early as 4500BC. In the forest surrounding the town, the site of Arthur’s Camp was an Iron Age settlement for a Celtic tribe known as the Osismes who later developed their capital in Carhaix. The motte nearby dates from the 9th century as a defence against Viking raids of that time.
In the Middle Ages the area was part of a very large parish called Ploumenez, in the 11th Century it was a included with Berrien. Documents show that Huelgoat existed as a town by the end of the 13th century and by the 14th century had a ducal market charter. It became a parish in its own right in 1791 and continued to develop as an important market town for the area.
The lake, some 15 hectares in size, was dug by German engineers at the end of the 16th Century to provide water for the nearby silver mines. The water ran to nearby the mines as the river Argent but later canals (channels) were constructed to bring water from the river closer to the mining operations. There were three veins of silver running north to south. The mines were at their height in the 18th Century but closed in 1866 In the 20th century attempts were made to re-start mining but these were finally abandoned in 1934.
By the end of the 19th century Huelgoat was becoming a well-known tourist destination and a tourist office was opened in 1923. Between the wars it continued to develop as interest in Breton culture grew. In World War II German forces arrived in Huelgoat in June 1940 and the town was liberated in August 1944. Today it is a part of the Parc Naturel Régional d’Amorique with its forests, lake and its mass of granite boulders known as a Chaos.
The fascinating mass of granite boulders at the head of the Argent as it leaves the lake is known as a Chaos. From underground magma produced over 300 million years ago, this cooled and cracked. Erosion then brought it to the surface where around 50 million years ago warm rains removed the sand and gravel in the cracks and the remaining granite boulders tumbled into the chaos we now see. From a similar process the rock known as the Mushroom (near the Intermarché supermarket) and the Trembling Rock are also fascinating to see.
Consists of about 1150 hectares with mainly beech, oak and Scots pine. Rich in wild life, the granite boulders of the Chaos, the Trembling Rock and others, the gushing river Argent and sites such as Arthur’s Camp it is a forest walkers’ paradise.
Arthur’s Grotto is said to connected to Arthur, King of Britain & Brittany and the forest to be that of Brocéliande. Others state that Merlin’s treasure from the Valley of No Return is hidden in the nearby cave. During the French Revolution, monarchists chasing a Republican soldier fled on seeing the Devil in the depths of the Devil’s Grotto. The hill above the Gouffre chasm is said to be the favourite place of Dahut, daughter of King Gradlon of Quimper, where she enjoyed singing, dancing and the pleasures of young men! The Chaos has two main legends: the giant Hok-Bas, on receiving poor refreshments from the townsfolk threw giant boulders at the town. The other, that in a battle the giants of Berrien and Plouyé lobbed boulders at each other but all fell short and rolled into the forest at Huelgoat.
The main square is Place Aristide Briande.
Here there are restaurants, bars, shops, the Tourist Office, two boulangeries and the smaller supermarket Huit a Huit (open 8 till 8 of course!). The open air Market is held here every Thursday morning. Off the square is the Mairie where there is extra parking (all free) and the recycling and “black bag” facilities.
Also in this square is the parish church Eglise St-Yves with Flamboyant-Gothic style dating from the 16th century. Yves is the patron saint of Brittany, an ecclesiastical judge in the 13th century noted for the fairness of his judgements.
Access to the Chaos is by the path beside the bridge at the end of the lake, but it is very uneven and can be slippery. An easier route is across the road from the Intermarché supermarket/Parking du Champignon on the Route de Berrien.
The old building by the bridge is the old mill Moulin de Chaos, built in 1339 by the then Duke of Brittany. It came to the French King after Brittany became part of France in 1532. It has two wheels and two mill-stones.
The chapel at the end of our road is the Chapelle Notre-Dame des Cieux where there are fine figureheads and carvings. The annual Pardon was once held here, drawing large crowds from a wide area of central Brittany.
Across the road from the chapel, down a steep path, is the Fontaine et Lavoir. The lavoir is the public washing-place for linen etc and the fountain source once fed the fountain in the main square.
Worth a visit (open April to October) is the Arboretum Les Arbres du Monde, off the Rue des Cieux, behind the cemetery, close by our house. There are 22 hectares and a lake.
The large buildings on the main road (Rue des Cieux) opposite the chapel is the Hospital Mont le Roux. Founded in 1894 as an hospice for the old and sick of Huelgoat. In 1993 it became a hospital for the elderly and dependant people (EHPAD for short). In front of the hospital are the gardens Jardins de l’Argoat which are open to all just to sit or stroll.
Huelgoat has an outstanding reputation for its walks, particularly in and around the abundant forest.
Signposting is good and many recommended walks take about two hours to complete but, of course, may be shortened to suit the walker.
To Arthur’s Camp via parking at Parking de l’Arlquellen on the road towards Poullaouen (D769A).
Around the town’s lake.
Towards the mine along either the upper or lower canal, setting off from the Mairie.
Into the forest to the east of Arthur’s Camp, this time parking at Parking du Gouffre.
Driving 15 or so minutes west on the main road back towards Morlaix (D764) to reach the area of the highest hills in Brittany, the Monts d’Arrée, where there are abundant moorland walks plus those around the reservoir.
For those travelling from southern Britain the ferry docks at Roscoff (of Onion Johnnies fame) and Huelgoat is then an easy 50 minutes drive away. Parking is on the residential road at the gate to the house.
Travelling by public transport then we recommend using the site breizhgo – simply input your details and it will give you options on how to get to Huelgoat.