Forest of Tronçais

Forêt de Tronçais
Map showing the location of Forêt de Tronçais
Map showing the location of Forêt de Tronçais
LocationAllier, Auvergne, France
Coordinates46°37′N 2°46′E / 46°37′N 2°46′E / 46.617; 2.767[1]
Area10,600 ha (41 sq mi)
Elevation205–360 m (673–1,181 ft)
DesignationZNIEFF, Réseau Natura 2000, réserve biologique intégrale
AdministratorOffice national des forêts
Typical straight roads through the forest

The Forest of Tronçais (French: Forêt de Tronçais, IPA: [tʁɔ̃sɛ]) is a forêt domaniale[2] comprising 10,600 hectares (26,000 acres) in the Allier, managed by the National Forests Office.[3] Its oaks, planted by Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert to supply the French Navy, constitute one of the principal stands of oaks in Europe.

Within the forest boundaries are the communes of Braize, Cérilly, Isle-et-Bardais, Le Brethon, Meaulne, Saint-Bonnet-Tronçais, Urçay, Valigny and Vitray. It is mainly made up of sessile oak.[4] It also contains 130 ha of ponds and is deemed by many as the most beautiful oakwood in Europe.[4]


path near the "Chêne carré" (December 2011)

The massif is located in the Bourbonnais and Allier department. The oakwood spans the communes of Braize (776 ha), Cérilly, Allier (1788 ha), Couleuvre (405 ha), Isle-et-Bardais (2788 ha), Le Brethon (1400 ha), Meaulne (112 ha), Saint-Bonnet-Tronçais (1176 ha), Urçay (343 ha), Valigny (17 ha) and Vitray (1728 ha).

Located in the INF (inventaire national forestier) "sylvoecoregion" of " Boischaut et Champagne berrichonne ", the forest constitutes the most part of the massif du Tronçais, which spans about 1,200 ha (3,000 acres).

Rainfall is between 800 and 900 mm.[5] Average temperature is 10 °C (50 °F).

The massif has a general north-west orientation, with slight slopes, except in the massif de La Bouteille and stream hollows. Altitudes vary from 205 m (NW) to 360 m (au Bois laid).

There are four big areas : l'Armenanche (east), la Réserve (center), les Landes blanches (NW) and la Bouteille (SW). Several enclaves have created " open areas ". The contours of the écotone/lisières massif are very rugged.

Bodies of water

Beside streams, two rivers fare through the massif : la Marmande and la Sologne. 5 ponds :

  • L'étang de Saint-Bonnet (44 ha). This natural pond was enlargened at the end of the 18th century to sustain the level of l'étang de Morat.
  • L'étang de Tronçais (18 ha). On la Sologne, created in 1789 to provide energy to aux forges de Tronçais.
  • L'étang de Morat (privé) (13 ha). On la Sologne, downstream of l'étang de Tronçais.
  • L'étang de Saloup (privé) (12 ha). upstream of l'étang de Tronçais.
  • L'étang de Pirot (70 ha). On la Marmande, in operation in 1848 to feed the canal de Berry via l'étang de Goule. 14 m deep.
étang de Pirot (December 2011)


These are spring sources that have been arranged by humans over time:

There are about 100 springs.


The forest is located on the southern limit of the Paris Basin, on varied substrats (from the primary to the quaternary eras). Most of the forest is located on sandstone or clay from the triassic period.

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