I thought that I would share with you some of the beautiful places along the river that we have discovered during our stays at Ty Hir.
Some sections of the river have been canalised as part of the Nantes-Brest Canal. The canal was built by Napoleon in the 19th century after the English blockaded the port of Brest. This was to provide a safe inland passage to the south east of Brittany.
The mighty Aulne is famous for salmon, trout and Allis shad fishing. If angling is not your bag then the towpath along the canal makes for easy walking and cycling. The river passes through green wooded valleys and pretty towns with plenty of bars and restaurants from where you can drink in the beautiful views.
We stumbled upon this tranquil spot quite by accident. The port was created as part of the Nantes-Brest canal in 1830. Once the war with England ended in 1855 the port was used for the transport of local slate, granite and cereals such as buckwheat for which the area is well known.
With the development of the railway the port fell into disuse. The construction of a dam at Guerledan sounded the final death knell for the port. Port de Carhaix lies about 6 kms to the south west of the bustling market town of Carhaix-Plouguer.
Perched on a steep hill, the picturesque town of Chateauneuf du Faou overlooks the meandering canalised Aulne. The towpath here passes through a heavily wooded valley of alders (from which the Aulne takes its name) against a backdrop of the Monts d'Arree in north and the Black Mountains to the south.
At the foot of the hill lies the arched 17th century Pont du Roy. At one end of the new road bridge you is the Auberge Tal Ar Pont bar where we were entertained by the Good Time Jazz band one Sunday afternoon. On the other side of the river you will find a river-based leisure center that provides boat rentals if you fancy a potter on the water.
This colourful little town lies a few kilometers from the sea. The port was prosperous in the 19th century due to its strategic location at the start of the Nantes-Brest canal. The river bank is lined with pastel coloured merchants and shipowners houses which reflect attractively in the calm waters.
The hydraulic barrier was built after floods in 1995 and 2000 devastated the area. The total cost of the project was around €6 million.
There is a fish ladder or 'les passes à poissons' which enables salmon and sea trout to migrate upstream to breed.
After the barrier the river becomes tidal and brackish as it makes its final journey towards the Rade de Brest and the Atlantic.
In the last loop of the Aulne, just before it reaches the Rade de Brest, you will find a ship graveyard. Tucked away in the sheltered bend are a number of rusting hulks from the nearby naval base. It is strangely haunting to observe these abandoned boats floating quietly at rest. You can find a great viewpoint over the site in the village of Kerberon which lies a short drive up hill from Landévennec Abbey.
Attacks by the Vikings in the Dark Ages, the 14th century Breton War of Succession, the French Revolution and subsequent neglect have left us with a picturesque waterside ruin. Here you can let you imagination run free to imagine tonsured Benedictine monks gliding silently by on their way to vespers.
We are off to Brittany next week for a short break. Hopefully we will have a chance discover a few more treasures from the Aulne to share with you in the future.