The beech forests of the Basque Country
On rare occasions, Nature benefits from the development of human activities. That is the case with the beech forest of Irati, in the heart of the french Basque Country. Overexploited from the middle of the 19th century to the 1950's, Irati is now back on form. Strangely, this is in part due to the construction of roads and tracks giving a better access to the forest. Easy access ended a period of clearcuts. In the 1960's, it was finally possible to administrate the forest in a more responsible, sensible way. Here in the Basque Country you will find some of Europe's largest deciduous forests, of which beech is the main species. Beech is beautiful. It lives up to 250 years old and can reach 40 meters in height. This owesome tree dominates the landscape North and south of the french-spanish border. The forests it forms are marvellous places that will leave nobody indifferent.