The largest man-made forest in Western Europe, the Landes forest stretches along the Atlantic from the Gironde estuary to Hossegor and inland between the Adour and Garonne rivers to a few kilometers from Nérac. This emblematic forest of the Landes is also called Pignada, from the Gascon Pinhadar, which literally means "pine wood". In reality, its million hectares is also made up of other species, such as cork oaks and holm oaks on the dune side, or alders and willows in the wetlands near ponds and streams. It is therefore far from being monotonous and is home to a variety of environments!
Part of the Landes forest has a natural origin, but the majority of its territory was created by human hands. In the 19th century, a large part of the Landes was still made up of a rural wetland, of which the famous shepherd on stilts is the emblematic image. The dunes of the coast, mobile, constantly advancing inland under the action of the sea winds, it was decided to establish a forest to slow down the process. The agro-pastoral way of life that characterized the Landes of the 19th century gradually gave way to the exploitation of pine resin, that is to say tapping. This activity dominated in the territory of the Landes until the middle of the 20th century, when the products resulting from tapping were replaced by petroleum products. The Landes forest underwent new changes in the second half of the 20th century, after being ravaged by numerous fires. Its reforestation was then designed to prevent the spread of fires thanks to the creation of numerous firebreak zones. It is this structure that now offers so many wide passages and paths that allow hiking and bike rides among the pines!
If the Landes forest is partly exploited for its wood which provides sawmills and paper mills, its vocation has become largely recreational: it is today an emblematic natural element of the Landes as attractive as the ocean. The paths that run through it are conducive to magnificent walks and mountain bike excursions. A network of marked cycle paths has also been developed, which allows you to ride with your family a few pedal turns from the Landes Bleues campsite. A great wealth of fauna and flora can be observed during your excursions, from wild orchids to marsh hibiscus, including otters, turtles and common cranes. The Landes forest offers an inexhaustible playground for all lovers of outdoor recreation: horseback riding, tree climbing, quad biking, walking, running and nature outings await you.