Created in 2003 by Béatrice Chassé and Gérard Lionet, the Arboretum des Pouyouleix is today the largest and most comprehensive oak collection in France and one of the largest in the world. The quality and importance of this collection were officially recognized in 2012 as the National Collection for the genus Quercus by the Conservatoire des Collections Végétales Spécialisées.
The Arboretum comprises 25 hectares in a spectacular site in the north of the Dordogne, in what is known as le Périgord vert. Bordered on the west by the river Côle, where the altitude is 220 m, the landscape is a dynamic mix of slopes and valleys, swooping down, as it were, from 270 m up at the top.
The largest collection in the Arboretum is of course the oak (the genus Quercus) collection –300 botanic species from all over the world, represented by more than 1,000 trees. Although the collection is very young, some of the oak trees have already attained heights of more than 10 m.
But the Arboretum is not just about oaks: in total, over 800 species of woody plants have been planted. Maple, ash, hickory, dogwood, rowan, a wide range of conifers, and many, many other rare trees and shrubs from all over the world complete the cast of characters.