It's the call of nature, the return to simpler and more environmentally friendly holidays. Share a moment of discovery in the heart of the Pinail Nature Reserve. The reserve is located at Vouneuil-sur-Vienne en Moulière national forest, the largest forest massif in the department of Vienne, which also takes its name from the millstones once extracted within it. This protected area has been shaped by man and his activity since Antiquity, you will now be able to discover it through a walk accessible to all.

Let’s go back in history together…

The extraction of stones for mills has been documented since the 9th century (during the time of Pepin II of Aquitaine, great-grandson of Charlemagne). Imagine, for a moment, the millstones were transported by water on the courses of the Vienna and the Loire, and were commonly used within a radius of more than 300 km in west-central France. History even tells us that some were taken across the Atlantic to the French colonies of Canada, particularly during the migrations from the metropolis to Quebec in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The thousands of ponds that make it up are the marks of the manufacturing of some 100 millstones intended to grind grain. At the end of the 000th century, it was the arrival of metal cylinders in the mills which brought about the end of exploitation. Over time, ponds formed in the extraction holes, in the middle of the moor. Today, there are nearly 19 ponds, an exceptional ecological wealth.

On video !

Nature takes back its rights…

The Pinail Nature Reserve is today protected and shelters remarkable fauna, flora and fungus. The mosaic of natural habitats is home to dozens of species: dragonflies, some of which are protected, the white-footed crayfish, a dozen species of amphibians or hybrids such as the green tree frog or the crested newt. Dozens of species of birds nest in the moor: the gray harrier, the farlous pitpit or the emblematic pitchou warbler. Numerous species of butterflies, locusts, grasshoppers and cicadas live among an equally exceptional flora of more than 400 plant species, six of which are protected. Mushrooms are not left out since the reserve protects the best-known fungal repertoire of the former Poitou-Charentes region.

Discover the reserve with your family…

On a beautiful spring day, introduce your children to the importance of respecting the environment through adventure “The Little Explorer of Pinail”, labeled Family Experience. Equipped with your backpack, delivered free of charge at the entrance to the reserve, you will have to take on challenges as a family and become a geologist, naturalist, climatologist, ethologist and manager of the reserve! Adjust your binoculars well, open your eyes and observe the plants, animals and mushrooms to fulfill your mission as a little explorer!

Go further…

The discovery of the Pinail Nature Reserve is a 2km trail, with free and open access, for a walk of around 2 hours. You can deepen your exploration by benefiting from the knowledge of conservators of the reserve with guided tours.

For nature lovers, you can also extend your walk with hiking or cycling around the reserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I discover the reserve?

The Pinail Nature Reserve is open all year round. However, we recommend a discovery from spring to summer, the period during which biological activity is the most important.

How do I equip myself?

Depending on the weather, we recommend wearing hiking boots or shoes. In hot weather, don't forget your cap and good sunscreen, as well as a bottle of water. 

Little extra: To preserve these good moments, remember your camera and a pair of binoculars could be useful for observing the bellowing of the deer, the birds or even the small animals!

Will I see a lot of animals?

You will sometimes have to observe and show discretion and patience, with thousands of natural species you should have the opportunity to see some of the fauna and flora. We advise you to watch videos made by the reserve so you know what to look for and where to look, this might help you in your exploration.

Is it accessible to people with reduced mobility?

Part of the discovery trail is “accessible” to independent wheelchairs (path 1.2m wide, relatively flat but not stabilized). To access the entire course, GEREPI provides joëlettes, free of charge, essential for travel on the uneven terrain of Pinail. With the help of two guides per joëlette, these single-wheel all-terrain wheelchairs guarantee an unforgettable discovery, in complete safety. Remember to reserve your equipment in advance (possibility of rental for off-reserve use).

Can I walk with my dog?

Dogs (and other animals) are prohibited in nature reserves, even on a leash. Indeed, wild animals are sensitive and particularly during the breeding season, in order to respect their environment we therefore advise you to opt for a hike around the Pinail Nature Reserve.

What are the rules to respect in a Nature Reserve?

In order to respect the surrounding fauna and flora, you can stroll only on foot, cycles, horses, motor vehicles, thermal and electric are not allowed. 

You'll need touch with the eyes. Indeed, the disturbance of species can lead to an upheaval of the ecosystem and in the long term the desertification of the site. Picking flowers and fruits also prevents plant reproduction. 

Keep your trash with you, this notion may seem trivial but it is important to leave the places clean in order to respect the biotope of the reserve. 

So, it is formally no smoking, vegetation is extremely flammable. Major fires have already ravaged the place, so fires are prohibited there.

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