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Forêt des Bois Noirs, Puy du Montoncel

Mountain, Viewpoint, River, Forest, Bog in Lavoine
  • The highest point in the Allier department at 1287 m, Puy-de-Montoncel can be reached by walking through the Bois Noirs forest, offering 360° views.

  • Below, the Foyer du Montoncel is surrounded by towering fir trees that support the development of remarkable flora and fauna. This natural area is an ideal playground for nature activities:
    - In summer: hiking, mountain biking on the Bois Noirs massif, permanent orienteering course and archery.
    - In winter: cross-country skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing.

    The Bois Noirs mountain takes its name from the compact, continuous fir forests that cover it, one of the oldest pectin fir forests...
    Below, the Foyer du Montoncel is surrounded by towering fir trees that support the development of remarkable flora and fauna. This natural area is an ideal playground for nature activities:
    - In summer: hiking, mountain biking on the Bois Noirs massif, permanent orienteering course and archery.
    - In winter: cross-country skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing.

    The Bois Noirs mountain takes its name from the compact, continuous fir forests that cover it, one of the oldest pectin fir forests in Europe.

    The French Revolution placed the Bois Noirs, and more precisely their highest point, the Puy du Montoncel (1287 m), at the convergence of three départements: Allier, Loire and Puy de Dôme. This immense forest dome covers more than 6,000 ha.

    Constituting the northern extension of the Monts du Forez, with the Monts de la Madeleine bordering it to the east, the Bois Noirs massif dominates the Allier plain to the west by almost 900 m. This north-south mountain range forms a series of raised granite blocks.

    Until the 18th century, the Bois Noirs forest was little exploited. It was only at the end of the 19th century that the first water-powered sawmills were set up on the edges of the massif, on the Sichon and Besbre rivers.

    In the Bois Noirs, water is everywhere, whether gushing from limpid springs or lying dormant in peat bogs. The smallest gullies sing of water's journey, joining together to form streams and rivers. When we speak of these mountains and their living waters, we often refer to them as "water towers".

    The size of the Bois Noirs makes them a remarkable ecological ensemble. You'll see insects and birds, and maybe even mammals, although the latter are harder to spot.

    In order to pass on a preserved heritage to future generations, please help us to ensure that these few recommendations are respected:
    - Keep these areas clean and attractive, respecting the flora and fauna as well as the work that has gone into them: tracks, paths, signs, trees, fences and planting.
    - To take full advantage of this natural environment, please wear walking shoes and bring binoculars and/or a camera.
  • Spoken languages
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