The national forest of Andaines surrounds Bagnoles de l’Orne and is 12 miles long and up to 6 miles wide. This wooded area is divided into two distinct sections: the Forêt de la Ferté-Macé to the east of Bagnoles de l’Orne and the Forêt des Andaines proper, which stretches out to the west as far as Domfront.
The two sections were brought together at the revolution and now form the Forêt des Andaines. This vast forest is planted with Scots pine, oak, beech and birch and covers 21 square miles. The resort of Bagnoles de l’Orneis located in the middle of this wonderful natural environment, between the two sections that make up the Forêt des Andaines.
Sporting activities beneath the trees
The Office National des Forêts has undertaken various works to welcome visitors, walkers and horse riders. Bagnoles de l’Orne offers an idyllic location for all nature lovers. There are 155 miles of trails all around the resort. Whether you come on foot, on horseback or on mountain bike, these splendid surroundings at the heart of the Parc Régional Normandie-Maine are the ideal place to unwind!
Crossed by three rivers, the Vée, the Maure, and the Gourbe, the Forêt des Andaines is a wonderful playground for outdoor activities. Here you can try kayaking, trail running and Nordic walking.
Excursions in the forest with a wildlife guide from the tourist office cover various themes such as picking mushrooms or recognising trees. Guided walks for families include opportunities to look for animal tracks or to take part in craft workshops, orienteering or even treasure hunts!
The health benefits of walking in the forest
Walking in the forest is good for well-being and relaxation. It reduces stress levels by disconnecting from the modern world. A walk among the trees can eliminate toxins accumulated as a result of urban living as you breathe in healthy, unpolluted air. The serenity obtained by a walk in the forest also enhances the protective cardiovascular effects of walking. The Gorges de Villiers, beside the river Gourbe, provides a natural environment that is the perfect place to unwind in this way.
Did you know that walking in the forest has other benefits? It’s great for boosting your imagination and developing your creativity! This is why artists and poets come to find inspiration among nature. The Tour de Bonvouloir, which is nestled in the middle of an orchard, offers a beautiful example of an unusual and inspiring site full of mysteries and legends.
Japanese researchers have also shown that walking regularly in the forest reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increases levels of serotonin, the so-called happy hormone! In Japan, shinrin yoku (which literally means “forest bathing”) is an opportunity to reconnect with nature by walking in the forest. In France, sylvotherapy (also known as arbothérapie) involving hugging trees, is an ancient ritual that was once practised by the druids. The Hippolyte Oak, the oldest of the oaks in the Forêt des Andaines, is the perfect subject to try it out on!