Manoir du Hilguy

Brittany, France

Pont Aven walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Although a little further from Hilguy than the other walks in this pack, it is clear that the excursions to the lovely little town of Pont Aven is a great favourite. It follows that a good walk based on Pont Aven is highly desirable; with its mixture of town, locally woodland, river with old mills, Gauguin associations, Chapelle de Tremalo and castle ruins, this one will not disappoint. The tracks and minor roads provide generally easy walking throughout.

Pont Aven is world famous as the home for 3 years of Paul Gauguin and as the focal point of the group of painters who gathered around him and followed him. Although there are now no Gauguin works in Pont Aven, the town is still dominated by studios and galleries.

From Hilguy use the D40 via Pluguffen to pass Quimper along the southern ring road and join the main N165, heading for Lorient and Rennes. Leave the N165 to take the D24, signposted to Pont Aven.

Go back along the riverside to the junction by the bridge, passing former water powered mills on the way (these mills total fourteen in all; each has a number displayed). Two mills have a visible water wheel. Over the bridge are the museum, town centre and unusual public conveniences.

1. Go straight ahead into the Rue Emile Bernard (another well known local artist). Turn right at once into Promenade Xavier Graal and cross a footbridge across a mill leat. Continue along a most attractively floral path on an island in the river. Cross another bridge to the left to return to the ‘mainland’. Turn right to go steeply up a road, passing a ‘Bois d’Amour’ signpost. Fifty yards before a junction with a major road turn right into an unsurfaced track which passes under the road. Carry on along a wide path through the Bois d’Amour woods beside the river and a former mill leat. Pass a small stone cottage (featured in a Gauguin painting). In about ½ mile reach a rough road by a trout farm (now derelect).

2. Turn left and then left again in a further 40 yards, along an uphill track back into the woods. At a junction turn right, along a lesser path with an avenue of tall trees, now rising only gently. Reach the gate of the Château du Plessis and turn left along the tree-lined château approach road. Follow road from Chateau for 700m to junction. continue straight on (bare right) for 300m to chapel. The chapel is low, wide and dark inside but electric light is available, although a small donation is requested. The chapel was restored about 100 years ago.

3. At the chapel turn right along a straight avenue of tress. In 300 yards turn left along a road with woodland on the right. Go straight ahead at a crossing of tracks and across two surfaced roads. Join the D24 cross over and turn right. In 40 yards turn left along a minor road to Nizon passing a lavoir and a car park on the right. If you wish to see the village turn right at the end of the car park and follow the road uphill. Note the distinctive oil paintings, the odd shop, bar/cafe and the church. The fine calvery at the front of the church is the subject of a Gauguin painting. The stained glass windows are fine. Now retrace your steps, go back to the village car park and continue straight on along the side of the C12.

4. If you did not do the diversion, turn left and go downhill by the side of the C12 road. Pass the village exit sign. In about half a mile and at a wide cross roads junction turn right along a narrower road rising gently for about 300 yards. Turn right along a road leading to the Chateau de Rustephan. At a farm building turn left along a path into woodland and the chateau ruins are immediately on your right.

5. Continue through woodland to a minor road. Turn right to reach the main road in 40 yards. Cross the road and walk along a minor road signposted Kernonen to a cross roads in about half a mile.

6. Turn left, along a minor road into woodland, soon joining a more important road.

7. A left turn here provides a short cut back into Pont Aven, either by staying with the road or by finding a track on the right which goes directly to the riverside. For the full walk turn right, along the grass verge for ½ mile, passing an enormous Menhir on the right and pretty thatched cottages. Turn left at a road junction with a calvary, and ignore a right turn to Kerrun, going straight on downhill.

8. By a stone arch at the bottom, turn left onto a track signed ‘Kerscaff’ and ‘Tal-Moor’. In 300 yards keep left at a fork. In about a further 150 yards on a rising section look carefully for a narrow path on the left, just in front of a stone wall. Follow this path downhill to a junction.

To return to Pont Aven continue straight on and up some steps. The path stays close to the river and then descends to the car park. If you wish to do a diversion, turn right where it is signed ‘sentier cotier’ (coastal footpath) and walk part of it. It is attractive alongside the river and through woodland, but you do have to return to the junction as there is nowhere to cross the river and return to Pont Aven.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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