Category Archives: Natural Parks in Castille y Leon

Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafáfila

  • Region: Castille Y leon
  • Province: Zamora
  • 1972 – Controlled hunting area (2,854 hectares).
  • 1986 – National Game Reserve (32,549 hectares).
  • 1996 – Regional hunting reserve (32,549 hectares).
  • 2006 – Nature Reserve (32,541 hectares).
  • 1987 – ZEPA (Special Protection Area for Birds) – 32,549 hectares.
  • 1989 – RAMSAR Wetland (Protection and international importance of the lagoon complex) – 2,854 hectares.
  • 1992 – SCI (Place of Community Interest) – 4,219 hectares

Villages in the area of Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafáfila

Cañizo, Cerecinos de Campos, Manganeses de la Lampreana, Revellinos, San Agustín del Pozo, San Martín de Valderaduey, Tapioles, Villafáfila (Includes the district of Otero de Sariegos, which is entirely inside the Natural Reserve), Villalba de la Lampreana, Villárdiga and Villarrín de Campos.

Hotels in the area of the Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafáfila

Points of interest

Depending on the season of the year, different birds can be observed But many people visit this area just for views of the Great bustard (Otis otis)


  • September is a month in which you can see large concentrations of mallard and an abundance of grey herons from the breeding colonies.
  • October is the time of passage for migratory birds such as common sandpipers and other waders.
  • November is the month with the highest concentration of cranes in the reserve and the arrival of the first common geese of the season also important flocks of common sandpipers.


  • In December, the common goose and the frieze duck abound, being in general a good month to observe rare ducks such as the white-faced goose and the grey-faced geese.
  • In January there are the highest concentrations of goose and European wigeon
  • In February the geese begin their journey to the Nordic countries. In their place the stork start to arrive from their southern wintering grounds.


  • March is the beginning of the arrival of the lesser kestrels, spooonbil and it is the time of spring passage for a large number of waders such as sandpipers and plovers etc. This is also the beginning of the mating season for bustards.
  • In April the bustard is still in breeding season and large concentrations of male combatants emerge in their full breeding plumage.
  • May is the breeding season of the lesser kestrels, especially the colony at the church of Otero de Sariegos. Storks and avocets are also in full breeding mode.


  • June is the month of the quail song in the Reserve, cattle egrets abound and the first flights of young storks.
  • The heat of July makes the aquatic fauna concentrate in the few remaining wetlands. This month also gives best observations of Montagu’s harrier. The first pre-migratory concentrations of stork are beginning to appear as well.
  • In August, the post-nuptial passage of sandpipers and other waders begins.

Information/Visitors Centers

Casa del Parque de las Lagunas de Villafáfila ‘El Palomar’

Ctra. Villalpando, Km. 1,5. 49136. Villafáfila. Zamora

  • On the N-630 road from Zamora towards Benavente. After the town of Granja de Moreruela, take a detour to the right onto the ZA-701 road, towards La Estación de la Tabla.
  • On the N-VI highway from Tordesillas towards Benavente leave the highway at Villalpando and at the exit of this town take a detour to the left towards Tapioles and Villafáfila.

This is an excellent information centre for the Lagunas de Villafáfila. There are audiovisual exhibitions, walkways, observation points etc and the place is staffed by very knowledgable guides. Well worth a visit!

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays
10:30 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00

Entrance price is 2 euros for adults and 1.50 for children (Children under free)

Website (only in Spanish)

On this page you will find the bird species list for the Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafáfila.

The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

Hoces del río Duratón Natural Park

  • Region: Castilla y Leon.
  • Province: Segovia.
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • ZEPA (Special Area for Bird Protection).
  • Park surface area: 5,037 hectares
  • The park encompasses the towns of Sepúlveda, Sebúlcor and Carrascal del Río.

Points of interest

Hoces del Rio Duratón Natural Park (Spanish: Parque Natural de las Hoces del Río Duratón) is a natural park close to the town of Sepúlveda in the province of Segovia. Its name refers to the Duratón River and “Las Hoces” refer to the series of 100m high gorges that were formed over milenia by river erosion.

Above Image image used from wikipedia By Carlos Delgado – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

This area is famous for its nesting colony of griffon vultures (over 600 pairs with excellent breeding results each year.) The sheer cliffs of the gorge have created the perfect nesting site for these amazing carrion birds and the huge plains and mountains surrounding this area obviously have a plentiful food supply.

Hotels close to the Hoces del río Duratón Natural Park


In the protected area of the Hoces del río Duratón Natural Park there are different habitats depending on climatic conditions and soil differences. Almost 600 species of flora have been recorded and three different and determined zones can be distinguished.

The moorland area: This occupies most of the surface of the park and is located in the upper area, where the soil is dry and poor. Here we can find common juniper and prickly juniper with thyme, gorse, sages, lavenders and other scrubland plants. The junipers in particularily have been badly affected by badly thought out farming practices over the years and in many places they have naturally been been replaced by the more resilient thyme and gorse. In some areas, particularly in the southwestern area there are resin pine plantations although today they are practically abandoned.

The Cliffs or rupicola ecosystem: The vertical walls up to 100 metres that make up this area of ​​cliffs and ravines hold very little soil and hold even less water. Searching the cracks and crevices and with the use of decent binoculars one can find Sedum acre , S. dasyphyllum and S. sediforme). If you look closer to the griffon nest sites other plants appear to be making good use of the nitrogen rich areas of excrement. Maidenhair ans Asplenium amongst others. Larger shrubs also cling to the cliff side such as pistacio terebinthus, black hawthorn and fig tree.

The bottom of the canyon or the riparian ecosystem: At the bottom of the canyon the soil content is far richer and water more available so we find alders, willows, poplars, elms, ash and chestnut trees. amongst these grow the larger shrubs such as dogwood, elderberry, blackberry, wildrose, blackthorn and hawthorn. other fruiting trees can also be found such as walnut, plum, almond, cherry and hazelnut.


The different habitats in the park make for a great wealth of fauna and birdlife (especially the griffons) stand out from the rest with almost 200 species listed for the area. there is however over 300 other species of non-ornithological fauna

Barbels and carp found in the reservoir area are also abundant in the river along with common trout. There is a healthy population of otters that have been reproducing well over the years.

Among the amphibians and reptiles are common frogs and toads and the more unusual midwife toad. Viperine snake can be seen in the river hunting and if you are lucky a ladder snake searching for eggs on the cliffs.

In the pine forests there are roe deer, wild boar, fox, squirrels, badgers. beech marten and weasels.

There are around 195 nesting and migrating species, distributed by the different habitats that occur in the park:

The cliffs along the gorge are used by many species of birds to nest. Griffon vultures are most common and stand out due to their size and number. This natural park hold one of the largest reproductive colonies in Europe at around 600 pairs . Other species of birds of prey that stand out are egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, kestrel, eagle owl, goshawk and golden eagle. Along with the raptors there are corvids such as the jackdaw and red-billed chough.

In the moors that surround the canyon on the higher plateaux steppe birds are observed. Dupont’s lark, red legged partridge, shrikes and thrushes are also found in places with more vegetation.

In the pine forests of the southwest area birds of prey such as goshawk, sparrowhawk, booted eagle, kites, (both black and red), Eagle owl, little owl, tawney owl and long eared owl.

Birds present at the bottom of the canyon or riparian ecosystem are blackbirds, finches, nightingales and robins that feed on the ground and in the trees. There are also warblers, woodpeckers and nuthatches that feed on the trunks of trees..

Also at the bottom of the canyon there are other birds such as goldfinches, golden oriole and closer or in the water we can find kingfisher and dipper, warbler, white and gray wagtail Mallards, teals, cormorants and herons.


The area of ​​the Parque de las Hoces del Río Duratón has been occupied by man since prehistoric times . The oldest finds are Neolithic ceramics dating from 3000 BC. The known settlements belong to the Copper Age (2000 BC) while the cave paintings (of the so-called schematic art ) as well as the vast majority of finds are from the Bronze Age (about 1000 years BC .). The site of El Solapo del Águila, in the Corral de Muñecas has the highest concentration of cave paintings in the park, is especially relevant and worth a visit. (ask in the visitor centre (see below)).

Within the natural park there are several monuments of interest. The hermitage of San Frutos stands out, which is located on a rocky spur over one of the gorges, and the monastery of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles at the bottom of the canyon.

Also relevant are the ruins of the Visigothic hermitage of San Julián, excavated in the rock, and the cave of the Seven Altars. (a natural cave inside which is a Visigoth religious monument from the 7th century . It is estimated to be the oldest Christian temple in the province of Segovia.It is located on the right bank, near the Villaseca bridge, about 100 m upriver, raised about 10 m from the bottom of the canyon (currently you go up some stairs). A gate protects the entrance and the key is kept in the nearby town of Villaseca)

Information/Visitors Centers

Oficina de Turismo y Centro de Interpretación de la Antigua Cárcel (Address, Plaza del Trigo, 6 Sepúlveda)

This is the best place to head for to find out more about the park and the general area and is in the town of Sepúlveda. (They have a tourist website only in Spanish.)

Opening hours:
Mondays 10:30 to 14:30 h and 16:00 to 18:00
Tuesdays Closed
Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 to 14:30 and 16:00 to 19:00

Interpretation Center, the Park House

The interpretation center of the Hoces del Río Duratón natural park is also located in the village of Sepúlveda. The old church building has been restored and adapted and consists of an audiovisual room and an exhibition that allows to obtain a complete idea of ​​the protected natural space.

There is an information service and also this is where you get permits to walk in the restricted areas of the park.

Other places to see and viewpoints in the Hoces del río Duratón Natural Park

There are several different points that are of special importance because they allow you to appreciate views of the park. The most outstanding viewpoint of all is that of the hermitage of San Frutos. Other viewpoints are:

  • Mirador de la Virgen de la Peña , in Sepúlveda, next to the church of the Virgen de la Peña, with information panels.
  • Mirador del Meandro, on the road to Villar de Sobrepeña .
  • Postigo de la Perejilera viewpoint , near the town of Sepúlveda.
  • Mirador del Portillo , overlooking the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de la Hoz.
  • Viewpoint of the Paso de la Glorieta , near Sepúlveda.

The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.