Coastal Dunes in Brittany and Their Management


  • Andre Guilcher
  • Bernard Hallegouet


Brittany, coastal dunes, coastal protection, coastal management, dune-beach association, sea-level change, tourism


Coastal dunes are scattered in many places around Brittany, Western France, the largest dune belt being found in the south between Lorient Roadstead and the Quiberon Peninsula. Their primary construction was initiated during a slight regression interrupting the Holocene transgression just after the Bronze Age (± 2400 BP). They continued to be locally fed until the 18th Century, but at present time new dunes are no longer built, except for a case found in the Bay of Audierne, and for the feeding in situ of beach ridges by wind, e.g. at Goulven, Pays de Leon, which does not lead to edification of real eolian dunes. Following the Second World War, coastal tourism and urbanization have threatened these dune belts. Scientists and activist groups interested in nature conservancy have approached commune councils and civil engineers with information concerning dune degradation and management. With the help of the French Ministry for Environment, the situation has been gradually improved. During the past decades, many areas have been protected by processes of dune preservation without preventing access to beaches. The type of management of the protected or restored dune remains, however, a matter of discussion.