Engaging in the celebrated Breton sport of randomly driving around until you happen across a megalith (not that hard to do), eagle-eyed Ellen spotted a small brown sign with the legend ‘allee couvert’ at the side of the road as we shot past, “Isn’t that one of those passage tombs?” she said, cueing a quick application of brakes and a swift reverse to the small parking spot next to some well manicured grass and a rubbish bin.
Checking the map I found we were on the D168, just north of Malestroit, but I couldn’t find any reference to this site in any of the books I had with me, even the mighty Burl didn’t mention the place, so it was with mounting excitement at not knowing exactly what we’d find that we commenced a walk along the obvious track from the parking spot into the unknown.
The path is bordered on one side by woodland, and on the other by a field, and shortly a long jumble of stones is visible ahead, and we find something far beyond expectation. The allee couverte, although ruinous, is huge, at 25 meters in length, it is the longest in Morbihan. It is also rare in having, according to the information board, a side entrance in the middle of the south wall, rather than the passage being open from the end, but in its somewhat ruinous state, it’s difficult to make out exactly where the entryway would have been. The stones protrude like spiny vertebrae, a sleeping dragon beneath the earth, the echo of the grand burial mound that must once have sat here still visible.
Once again the site is enhanced by its woodland surroundings, it has a bit of a feel of Wayland’s Smithy to it, although being totally different in design to that place. The raw size of the site also impresses, and to find it just sitting here, with no fanfare, only serves to underline just how many megalithic remains are scattered across Brittany.
I spend some time pacing around trying to photograph the site from every conceivable angle, but its sheer size makes getting everything in shot very difficult. It’s peaceful here, and conducive to spending some time, but clouds on the horizon are blowing in, the winds still gusting strongly after last night’s storm, so we know soon it will be time to move on. A poke about further down the path shows a number of large rocks lying around prone, seemingly of the same type of stone as the orthostats of the allee couvert, whether they were once part of it, or more likely a source of stone for the building of the monument I’m not sure.
I’m pleased to have come across this place, an unexpected gem of a find, and one of the reasons I love Brittany, where else could you just stumble across such a megalith?