Nature reserve of the Allier
In the Allier valley, the river has given the department its idyllic charm. South of Moulins, the nature reserve of the Allier valley extends over 21 kilometers. This area is managed by the ONF (State Forest Management), the activities are managed by the LPO (bird protection) and is open to visitors. Simply follow the marked routes with theme boards.
More than 250 bird species have been reviewed. Just as much as in the Camargue. A few rare and remarkable species: the little tern, the gray heron, the South American brown heron, the osprey and the European bee-eater with its colored feathers.
The landscape of the Bourbonnais, unchanged for centuries, is a mosaic of green fields between living hedges, the rocky Combrailles, surrounded by the Cher, the Sologne Bourbonnaise and the valley of the Besbre, with protected areas for birds.
Between the Loire and the Allier, “Les Bois Noirs” and “Les Monts de la Madeleine” form the mountains of the Bourbonnais. The rounded hills and rock points tower high over green valleys full of oak, chestnut trees, beech, pine and birch. They offer many options for trips on horseback, on the ATB bike or on foot. 400 kilometers of marked trails give walkers the opportunity to discover the incredible beautiful nature. The Puy du Montoncel rises to 1 287 meters and offers a breathtaking view. The Loge des Gardes, a small ski resort in the winter, welcomes lovers of new sliding sports in the summer.
In the northwest lies the forest of Tronçais, one of the most beautiful forest areas in France. This large 11,000-hectare oak forest also has beech and hornbeam trees. The 40 meter high trunks place the canopy on the height of the cathedrals. The forest was crossed by Cesar and rehabilitated by Colbert. There are many rivers that spring beneath the leaves: about 40 sources have been registered. Some oaks are 350 years old. The square oak is said to have been born around 1630, the Wachter, with a size of 6.55 m, is undoubtedly one of the oldest registered oaks. The Gemini would be 403 years old and from a single stump! A total of 19 remarkable trees have been indicated