The communal forest of Preuilly covers a total area of 954ha just north-east of Preuilly sur Claise. This is made up of 575ha broadleaf forest (primarily oak), 327ha pine and 18ha of mixed forest. The mathematically adept amongst you will have noticed that this only adds up to 932ha. The remaining 22ha are étangs - well, we are in the land of a thousand lakes, after all. The altitude of the forest ranges between 119 and 144m above sea level and it is situated on the border of the Parc Naturel de la Brenne.
A relatively young section of forest on a cold mid-winter dayIn the 1st century BC, the Gauls exploited the forest for iron ore mining and smelting. In the Middle Ages the forest was part of the Baronnie de Preuilly. From the Renaissance to the mid-19th century, the forest was used to fuel the fourneaux de la Claise ie in the extraction of iron, the production of charcoal and as a dumping ground for the slag resulting from the processing of minerals. In the 19th century a tile factory operated from an area called la Fontaine Bourbon.
The map on the information board, with the forest itself beautifully reflected in the plexiglassAt the time of the Revolution the forest was sold to the Château Azay-le-Ferron (the home of the Barons of Preuilly after they left Preuilly itself) and it remained part of the château lands until 1951-2 when the Hersent-Luzarche family gifted the forest to the town of Tours. That is why the name is officially la forêt de Tours-Preuilly, even though Tours is at the opposite end of the départment.
Etang de la Ribolache, in the middle of the forest
(A Anne et Jean Pierre - Je n'ai pas pratiqué mon français par appel téléphonique du Mairie. Toute cette information est traduite de l'excellent plaque des informations à l'aire de la Ribaloche.)