Map of the Garennes forest extracted from the Atlas des bois dépendans des duchés de Nivernois et Donziois (1789)
Garennes forest once depended on the Chatellenie of Châteauneuf-Val-de-Bargis belonging to the Dukes of Nevers since the 16th century. This forest, located on Châteauneuf-Val-de-Bargis, Vielmanay and Nannay municipalities, now corresponds to the meridional part of the Bellary State forest.
The atlas specifies that “this forest contains 1833 arpents 62 perches [approximately 940 hectares] and is divided in 18 cuts; it is intended to the forges and furnaces of the Eminence, Bailly [Donzy] and Chandoux [Sainte-Colombe-des-Bois]. We will follow until 1798 the cuts order established by the forges and furnaces lease agreement, after which we will start the second rotation by the Number 1 and the following ones continuously.”
The exploitation of this forest, with an 18 years rotation, is typical of a forest whose wood is intended to forges. As a matter of fact, at the sapling stage, diameter of wood is less than 10cm. These dimensions are perfect to transform wood into charcoal using process of the charcoal kiln.