Discover the beauty of the Poitou-Charente countryside
Enjoy walking, hiking or birding, at a leisurely pace due to the burgeoning nature of the Poitou-Charentes. Puy-Leonard has selected several delightful walking tours for you.
Given its variation, mild climate and minor differences in altitude, this region is extremely suitable for hikers. There are numerous hiking routes that are spread over this area.
They also include shorter routes, which are recommended, or otherwise no routes at all. Sometimes you stroll over hills and through fields, other times through the woods. Hiking trails also run through the vineyards and the Marais Poitevin.
Charente Walking level: Easy
Starting point in Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, Charente
Discover the rich fauna and flora of the Né valley in this Natura 2000 classified area – a nature protected zone with many diverse and protected species and plants, such as the European Mink (a little known species near extinction) and wild orchids, as well as many other species naturally found in a preserved environment.
Starting point in Ambleville, Charente
The commune of Ambleville is crossed by the Collinaud, a stream tributary of the River Né, which includes wash-houses typically found in this area of Grande Champagne. During your walk you will have the chance to discover La Motte, a hamlet in this commune. Take the time to admire the rolling countryside and La Motte wash-house. This walk can be enjoyed with all the family, because children will find it fun to cross the Collinaud by way of the stepping stones.
Starting point in Merpins, Charente
Located at the confluence of the Né and Charente rivers, the Merpins commune has been permanently occupied by men from very early times: arrowheads, pottery shards, and later an imposing medieval fortress, an 11th century church and an abbey dating back to the 12th century are the living proof. These fertile lands are home to meadows, cereal fields and a Grande-Champagne listed vineyard.
Starting point in Moulidars, Charente
A varied circuit, sometimes in the sun in the vineyards sometimes in the forest. A very pleasant walk in the middle of the countryside.
Starting point in Angeac-Champagne, Charente
A lovely walk through the Charentais vineyards, passing beautiful buildings and around the village of Roissac. Angeac- Champagne counts numerous prosperous-looking Charentais houses, witness to the wealth which lies in the local economy producing cognac, its principal occupation. The entrances to the estates are marked by a gate or porch way: there are at least 50. They are unique and typical of our local heritage. At Roissac village they embellish the main street.
Starting point in Gimeux, Charente
Gimeux was built on a hillside overlooking the valley and marshlands of the river Né and enjoys a flourishing farming activity: meadows and cereal fields in the valley, vineyards on the hills. Ancient burial sites and the outline of the old Roman road called ‘Chemin Boisné’ are revealing of the ancestral occupation of the land. The parish church dates back to the 12th century. Also marking the landscape are an old chapel as well as the remains of a windmill on the Fanaud hillside.
Charente Walking level: Average
Starting point in Saint-Laurent-de-Cognac, Charente
Bordered to the South by the Charente river, theSaint-Laurent area consists of a small town gathered around its church and its 11th century portal, several villages spread across the valleys and the hills as well as farms and secluded dwellings.
Starting point in Segonzac, Charente
The Gaul root of its name means ‘strength, courage’. The Hundred Years War persuaded the construction of numerous underground passages, which enabled the inhabitants to take refuge from extreme violence. Without a doubt Protestantism has left its mark in the area, particularly with the Segonzacais. The first Reformed church was founded in 1558. Troubles occurred in 1562 and the parish church was burnt down. Today’s Temple church is the third constructed since the Edict of Nantes.
Starting point in Saint-Brice, Charente
Thanks to the natural beauty of its location and the richness of its heritage, Saint-Brice is one of the most picturesque areas of Cognac region. At the heart of the Charente and Soloire rivers valley, man has erected many symbolic buildings: dolmens, churches, abbeys, castles and manors, all expertly crafted.
Starting point in Saint-Fort-sur-le-Né, Charente
Situated at 25m altitude – the river Né and the Motte stream are the principal water courses which cross the locality.
In certain places there are excellent views towards and from the village, the Dolmen, of the vineyards, the landscape of the Grande Champagne and surrounding villages. In every season you can discover a certain charm and appeal in St. Fort.
Starting point in Saint-Sulpice-de-Cognac, Charente
Saint-Sulpice-de-Cognac is pleasantly located between the marshlands of the Antenne River and limestone hillsides. There, are hidden the remains of the Agrippa Roman road as well as forgotten local railroad.
Cherves-Richemont is graced with the Antenne River and offers an unexpected diversity of landscapes. Its historic heritage is particularly rich: Romanesque churches, Château Chesnel, watermills, manor houses.
Starting point in Segonzac, Charente
Segonzac: the root of its name means ‘strength, courage’ in Gaulish.
Archaeological digs have revealed a Neolithic inhabitation (approx. 5000 B.C) The Hundred Years’ War persuaded the construction of numerous underground passages, which enabled the inhabitants to take refuge from extreme violence. Protestantism has, without a doubt, left its mark in the area, particularly with the Segonzacais. The first Reformed church was founded in 1558. Troubles occurred in 1562 and the parish church was burnt down. Today’s Temple is the third constructed since the Edict of Nantes. According to a legend at the start of the 17th century, it was at Segonzac that a vintner named Chevalier de la Croix Maron invented double distillation.
Starting point in Saint-Preuil, Charente
This circuit gives you the chance to discover rural heritage (springs, water sources, open air wash houses); and at each place, a description of its history is displayed. The route also highlights the architectural and historical heritage of the 13th century (Eglise Saint-Prohet, the Place Jacquaire, the protestant stele, the Chateau de Segeville) plus the various hamlets in the locality, flora and fauna.
Charente-Maritime Walking level: Easy
Starting point in Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, Charente-Maritime
Bois-Plage-en-Ré is the seaside resort of the Ile de Ré with long beaches lined with dunes. It is also a wine producing region with plenty of wooded areas.
Charente-Maritime Walking level: Average
Starting point in Mervent, Vendée
There are many pedestrian paths to discover in Mervent forest.
Starting point in Aigrefeuille-d’Aunis, Charente-Maritime
A beautiful walk along Frace Lake, which is popular for fishing and walking, and on through the little town of Aigrefeuille-d’Aunis, where you can visit the Ouchettes cheese dairy and goat farm.
Starting point in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime
The first part of the route takes you along the coastal trail with a section around the outskirts of the small ports of Lauzières and Plomb.
Small viewing points are scattered along the route giving you the chance to observe the Pertuis Breton and the Ile de Ré and its bridge.
The return leg takes you around the outskirts of the Nieul-Sur-Mer communes and then L’Houmeau.