©Allée forestière de la Forêt des Andaines à Bagnoles de l'Orne|Bagnoles Tourisme

On the trail of forest heritage

Hidden treasures of the national forest of Des Andaines

Located in the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional Normandie-Maine, the Forêt des Andaines surrounds the resort of Bagnoles de l’Orne. Set out to explore its forest heritage on a country walk.

The Hippolyte Oak


Less than two miles from Bagnoles de l’Orne, in the Forest of La Ferté-Macé, there is a massive 300-year-old oak tree. The Hippolyte Oak is the oldest of the oaks in the Forêt des Andaines and undoubtedly the most impressive. It stands in the middle of an area planted with beech and Norway spruce.

The 30 m tall tree has a circumference of 5.26 m at a height of 1.3 m from the ground. This very popular oak is nicknamed Hippolyte after the old forester Hippolyte Foinet who championed the tree at the beginning of the 20th century.

The “Le Lit de la Gione” Dolmen

Discover the dolmen known as La Gione’s bed on the GR22 between Bagnoles, Chapelle d’Andaines and Juvigny-sous-Andaines. Located close to Inkermann, the Dolman owes its name to the legend of the wicked fairy, La Gione. It is said that the fairy set up home beneath the enormous blocks of stone that she may have transported herself in her apron.

Restoration work on the dolmen took place in 2014 to replace the seven- ton stones back in their original position. Walkers and hikers can now explore the megalithic site and the legend that goes with it.

Gorges de Villiers

The Gorges de Villiers is a natural beauty spot consisting of rocky escarpments, fallen rocks and moorland. The site includes a hot water spring that flows from the depth of the rock as well as a torrential river, la Gourbe. This natural stream winds its way between the heaps of rock and the slopes.

A waymarked nature trail covers a 1½ mile circular route in nine stages. This provides an opportunity to explore the diverse natural environments that make up the Gorges de Villiers as well as its history and legends.

The forest trail

The Forêt des Andaines is rich in vegetation including ferns and around fifteen different species of trees and shrubs (including Scots pine, oak and beech). A waymarked forest trail covers a circular route of just under a mile for a fully accessible walk.

The Office National des Forêts has provided information panels about forest management to help visitors understand the vegetation’s natural regeneration cycles and the maintenance work needed to maintain the balance of the forest. The trail starts hundred metres from the tourist office.