Baby blue tit in the garden**
SwallowtailSwallowtail butterfly
Breton horses
Breton horse and her foal next door
Local Farmland
Peaceful farmland on our doorstep
Path at Penerf
The coastal path at Penerf (20mins)

You may see our local wildlife when you're walking or cycling on the mostly level, quiet lanes around the gites, taking in the nearby villages. The Josselin to Redon section of the Nantes-Brest canal is quickly accessible for walking, and it also offers safe easy family cycling on the towpath, with the opportunity of spotting kingfishers, herons, cormorants and otters.

As well as Josselin and Redon, this section of the canal (river Oust) passes through the picturesque town of Malestroit and many pretty villages.

There is a 40km surfaced cycle path on the track of a disused railway line just north of Bel-Aire (10 mins) at Questembert.

AQUAGOLFE - Under 20 minutes away we now have the region's new water park at Surzur with a choice of heated pools, water slides, childrens' rubber ring ride, sauna, jacuzzi, massage bath, and its own beach! Bermuda trunks not allowed chaps, pack your budgie smugglers.

BOAT TRIPS and dayboat hire on the 25 km lake on the Vilaine River departing from Arzal (12km), and to the Islands in the Golfe de Morbihan departing from Vannes.

HIRE A PUNT at St Lyphard (30mins), take a picnic, and punt around the waterways in the Grande Brière marshland National Park.

THE FAMOUS WILDLIFE PARK in the grounds of the Château de Branféré at 3km is on our doorstep. Don't confuse this with a zoo. That the animals enjoy their semi-wild life here is evident from their condition and manner. Small herds of different species feed on the 'African Plain', a fantastic bird display involves pelicans and egrets as well as parrots and birds of prey. Very popular with our guests, some of whom have visited twice during their stay.

THE PREHISTORIC PARK at Malansac (16km, 20 min) is stimulating for littl'uns who have been 'doing' dinosaurs at school and features full size tableaux of dynosaurs and cave families in realistic countryside settings.

MANOIR DE L'AUTOMOBILE at Lohéac, 50mins. Huge display of cars from vintage to modern, including rally cars and a complete Formula 1 starting grid! So impressive it can convert even sceptical visitors. If you have track insurance there's an open pitlane on the circuit most last Sundays of the month for €100.

HISTORY OF PAPER MAKING at the paper making mill at Penmuir (8K) near Muzillac where ancient water powered mallets break down rags to make lovely paper.

ST NAZAIRE Cross the Grande Briére wetlands park to Saint Nazaire (45 mins), site of the first commando raid, and tour a submarine in the old U-boat pens, the shipyard where they built the Queen Mary 2, the Airbus A380 factory. Great for a rainy day.

THE MUSEUM OF THE BRETON RESISTANCE at St. Marcel, Malestroit (30km) on the site of a battle in June 1944 in which the Breton Resistance with Free French forces parachuted in from England, successfully diverted the local German troops from the Normandy Invasions.

GOLF at Limerzel (7km), Caden (15km), La Bretesche at Missillac (22 km), Ploermel, Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys (45 km), La Baule.

YVES ROCHER Vegetarium and factory at La Gacilly. This is where the beauty products empire has its roots, so to speak.(30 mins). The late Yves Rocher was the longtime Mayor of La Gacilly from the 1950's, and the patron of this pretty flower bedecked village crammed with artisans' shops.

Our local wildlife photos by *Liz Griffiths, **Charlotte LeSauter