A must-see

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An environment to protect

Let yourself go to the contemplation through these sites full of history, and surrounded by a rich but still fragile nature

A real green setting

A nature to protect

A site to maintain very extensive

The "megalithic landscape" of Carnac is currently made up of three types of vegetation: the moors (which correspond to the objective of restoring the original vegetation of the site), the meadows and the lawns.

Let us not forget that the alignments of Carnac are composed of nearly 70 hectares of moorland, meadows and pine forests: so many natural areas to maintain, restore and for some, to open to visitors.

There is no shortage of daily tasks: lumbering in wooded areas to secure, maintenance of picnic areas available to visitors, trails and especially maintenance of megalithic sites and their plant cover considered "natural" by a neophyte observer.

alignements de Kerlescan en fleurs
alignements de Kerlescan en fleurs

DR, Centre des monuments nationaux

Carnac, victim of its own success...

The development of the megalithicsite of Carnac since the 1990s has unfortunately not been enough to stop the degradation of the soil that was already well underway.

Indeed, the crowds of visitors trampling the site permanently have destroyed the vegetation in an irreversible way...

Let's go back 30 years...

Until the beginning of the 1990s, the site of Carnac was entirely open, which led to a significant degradation of the vegetation. The report is clear: the soil is gullied, criss-crossed by increasingly clear and dug paths, the flowers no longer grow, the vegetation is almost dead. The ground is even bare in the most frequented sectors.
In order to remedy this disaster, measures have been deployed such as the installation of fences surrounding the site to allow the return of spontaneous vegetation.

The installation of flocks of sheep belonging to the species " moors of Brittany " has also given a boost to nature! What could be more logical to maintain the vegetation than the regular mowing by these herbivorous mammals, native to the region? This is called eco-pasturing.
A favorite of visitors, the flock of sheep at Carnac is currently composed of about fifty animals. It grows every year at the rate of new births that you may have the pleasure to observe!

moutons Landes de Bretagne dans les alignements

DR, Centre des monuments nationaux

Operation Safeguard

The current management of the vegetation of the site is based on recommendations issued according to the work of the University of Brest, and must meet a double objective: to allow the presentation of the site to the numerous visitors without endangering the conservation of the monument, and to control the development of the vegetation in order to keep the visibility of the stones.
The control of the vegetation is made possible thanks to several "tools" :

  • Grazing by "Landes de Bretagne" sheep , which notably makes it possible to limit the growth of certain plant species while preserving others.
  • Mechanical mowing, which is used when sheep cannot be used, or as a complement to grazing.
  • Gates allow for the distribution of visitor flows from distinct departure points.

The guides thus try to vary and change the trajectory of the visitors on the sites to limit the impact on the grounds.
Today, the vegetation takes its rights. The ground, generous in raw materials, is again covered with plants typical of the Breton landscapes .

And it is a beautiful flowered moor which offers itself to us according to the seasons. What a victory!

agneaux dans les alignements

DR, Centre des monuments nationaux

A rich and varied fauna and flora

The most characteristic species of the moor of Carnac and its surroundings are gorse, heather, callune, broom and mulberry.

Other more discreet species are to be noted such as the plantain horn-of-horn, the black knapweed, the eagle fern... very colorful names that give you the keys to try to find them in nature!
But, by the way, which species populate the megalithic landscape?

Let's take a closer look at the numbers from a 2019 inventory:

  • 167 plant species listed (3 nationally protected and 1 regionally protected)
  • 72 species of birds (58 protected)
  • 33 species of butterflies (including 3 endangered)
  • 5 species of reptiles (all protected)
  • 17 species of ants
  • 4 species of amphibians, all protected
  • 70 species of beetles
  • 30 species of spiders
  • 22 species of dragonflies (including 2 endangered).

In Carnac, nature is so beautiful that some people think it is a postcard setting, created from scratch ... It is not!

This landscape of moorland is quite natural and probably close to the landscape known by the Neolithic men.
On the contrary, the pine forests are the result of recent plantations...

How do we know that? It is the study of fossilized pollens, palynology, in the sedimentary layers that reveals it to us. It allows us to reconstruct landscapes and better understand the evolution of plant cover over time...
But it doesn't stop there! The soils are as old as the rest of the site and hide archaeological layers that could, one day, be studied by archaeologists to pierce the mystery that remains around this site!

oiseau sur un menhir
Alignements de Kermario, un Tarier pâtre sur un menhir

Philippe Berthé, Centre des monuments nationaux


Menhir on the ground !

In November 2021, at the edge of the pedestrian path that runs along the sites, a menhir fell naturally and gently, fortunately without injuring anyone.

This incident shows the fragility of these stones, in reality planted in the ground only on the surface, and without real stability. At the time of their construction the menhirs were cut in such a way as to stand upright once raised, but only 1/10th of their height is buried, wedged in a pit and blocked by small stones which hold them in place.

It is thus necessary to understand that for a stone of approximately 3 meters high, only 30 cm are in the ground!

It is thanks to the vegetation that the menhirs stand today and the closing of the site in 1991 allowed the regeneration of this essential natural ground, while leaving the whole of the alignments visible from the surroundings.

Today, for the preservation of the site but also for the safety of all, it is forbidden to climb on the stones, even when some sites are accessible between October and March.

menhir tombé au Ménec

DR, Centre des monuments nationaux

The 4 seasons in the alignments of Carnac

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