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Pornic, a small port on the Atlantic, is above all known for its seaside activities, such as the beach, or sailing. But hiking in Pornic is another great way to enjoy the sea air!
With its kilometers of coastline directly overlooking the Atlantic, Pornic is comfortably installed at the foot of its castle, on the very pretty Côte de Jade. It forms an alternation of short granite cliffs with a Breton feel and large fine sandy beaches, which concentrate most of the attention of holidaymakers. This seaside is criss-crossed for the most part by hiking trails bathed in iodine, while inland, the Pornic countryside, crossed by the Haute Perche canal and crisscrossed with groves, also offers various walking routes. and varied.
With a mild and oceanic climate, hiking is a valid option all year round in the surroundings, summer and winter: it is also the best alternative to the beach on rainy days! In this region with flat reliefs, therefore experiencing little elevation, the difficulty lies more in the weather of the day (strong wind, rain), than in the technical nature of the routes. Good shoes and poles will be more than enough to discover the most beautiful hikes in Pornic, even the most difficult.
1. The Douaniers trail from Pointe Saint-Gildas
This first hike around Pornic starts near Saint-Gildas, only about fifteen minutes away. At the level of the Semaphore, from the top of small brown cliffs, the view is already magnificent over the ocean, and the vast foreshore uncovered at low tide. A marine setting that accompanies you throughout this walk, exclusively following the coastal path to Pornic.
No problem to find your way, therefore, nor to follow this route accessible to the greatest number, without difficulty. Many breaks are possible along the Sentier des Douaniers, whether on the terrace along the way, or directly on one of the many beaches encountered along the way. A hike as beautiful in threatening weather as in the sun, ideal for filling your lungs with iodine.
2. Along the Jade coast from Pornic
A hike in Pornic which somehow takes over from the first: we start south of Anse des Lapins and the port, on the Corniche de Gourmalon side, in order to continue our walk on the Douaniers trail. After having passed the last dwellings of the resort, the path becomes preserved, narrow and wilder, until reaching the large beach of Boutinardière.
Along the way, we come across many small fisheries typical of the region, with magnificent views of the ocean all along. At low tide, take advantage of the retreat of the sea to explore the small beaches, cliffs, and rocky recesses of the Jade Coast.
The return is done in a loop, leaving the coast a little to meander through the quiet streets of Joselière and Birochère, and thus return to Pornic and the starting point.
3. The Pointe Saint-Gildas loop
Return to Pointe Saint-Gildas, a 15-minute drive away, for this hike around Pornic that is both short and easy, ideal for a short half-day family outing. Unless you plan more time to enjoy the beach! As a loop, the hike begins and ends at the Grande Plage, in Préfailles, where swimming is easy and supervised.
The route, simple and well signposted, consists of going around the Pointe Sainte-Gildas nature reserve, via the Semaphore, the old bunkers and the orientation table, with a view of Noirmoutier to the south. We then switch to the Loire estuary side, before cutting through the countryside by the Chemin de la Prée, to find the starting point. An iodized hike on days when the wind is blowing.
4. The Haute Perche canal and the Val Saint-Martin pond
Let’s leave the coast for a moment with this hike in Pornic, which starts just outside the town (less than 10 minutes by car from the center), to explore the countryside surroundings.
Thus, this easy route, well marked in its entirety, actually includes two! Part of it takes place along the peaceful and verdant Haute Perche canal, through pleasant bocage landscapes. Then, the walk takes us all around the Val Saint-Martin pond, a pretty calm body of water surrounded by greenery, popular with walkers, cyclists and fishermen. Many opportunities for a picnic break in the shade along the way.
5. The Boivre circuit and the Pierre Attelée forest
We leave 15 minutes by road to the north to find the starting point of this beautiful hike around Pornic, in the town of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins. Varied and above all very beautiful, this route is an opportunity for a great half-day walk, where you don’t worry about wasting time observing the landscape…
The walk begins through the dunes, along the beach, before entering the forest of Pierre Attelée with the delicious smells of maritime pines, the last of its kind on the Jade coast. We then leave the coast for a more rural path, which crosses, among other things, the Boivre marshes, a refuge for many birds.
6. The Safari and Held circuit
This hike in Pornic is more of a short walk than a long outing, but it will delight children in particular with a few surprises along the way. The route runs along the Planète Sauvage animal park, from which surprising noises escape. We can see unusual animals in the area: wolves, antelopes, fallow deer, buffaloes…
The path then finds the tranquility of the countryside of the Pays de Retz, between fields and vineyards interspersed with hedgerows, forming a loop presenting no difficulty. The departure is located opposite the Port-Saint-Père – Saint-Mars station, accessible from Pornic in 30 minutes by car, or 45 minutes by TER.
7. The circuit of the Beusse pond
Let’s linger again in the hinterland of the Pays de Retz, this time on the side of the Beusse pond. We are about half an hour by car from Pornic, in order to afford a good green setting, in the middle of the countryside.
Thus, the tranquility is total from end to end of this well-maintained path, alternating between the banks of the Beusse pond and its calm waters, small shady undergrowth, fields and groves typical of the region, without forget several hamlets and localities: a whole rural world living at its own pace, away from the seasonal bustle of the coast.
8. The Red Sands circuit
Let’s continue this discovery of the Pays de Retz on the countryside side with a last pretty hike around Pornic, the start of which is a stone’s throw from Port-Saint-Père (30 minutes by car). Many hedges and undergrowth composing the bocage, fields, vines, but also pastures, the decor is planted, typical of the region in its hinterland.
An old Roman road allows you to progress at your own pace towards the very small Port Hamoneau, on the Acheneau river, where fishermen are not rare. The route, in a loop, brings you back to the starting point by crossing old sand quarries, exploited from the end of the 19th century, from which the circuit takes its name.