The Sierra de Castril, a limestone massif, is part of the Sierra Bética mountain range in Andalucia

Sierra de Castril

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Granada
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 12,696 hectares
  • ZEPA in 2002

Points of interest

The Sierra de Castril, a limestone massif, is part of the Sierra Bética mountain range. Altitudes vary between 855 and 2138m with spectacular scenery holding caves and cliffs shaped by water erosion. The main river, Castril, flows from the north to south of the park added to which there are many natural springs, streams and waterfalls.

The western boundary of the park meets with the neighbouring natural park of Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas in Jaen province.

There are two outstanding cave formations, both in the Sierra Seca area of the park. The Cueva de Don Fernando is Granada’s largest cave and the second biggest in Andalucia. This 2.5km long cave drops to an amazing 241m below sea level. The Cueva del Muerto has spectacular stalactites and stalagmite formations. (Visit the information centre in Castril to fiond out more. See below)

La Torca de Fuente Fría has the most important subterranean lake in the province.

Río Castril Path

This walking route is short, easy and spectacular. It is a walk that the whole family can enjoy. The path mainly runs along a wooden footbridge over the Río Castril, a suspension bridge and a tunnel. You will pass though a beautiful natural landscapes.

This walk is lineal there and back. From the car park its about 40 minutes to a great bar/restaurant after a rest just walk back the way you came.

Flora

Plants in danger of extinction are Atropa baetica, Erodium cazorlanum, Taxus baccata and Viola cazorlensis, those considered vulnerable are Acer opalus subsp. granatense, Amelanchier ovalis subsp. ovalis, Buxus sempervirens, Salix eleagnos and Sorbus aria.

Another interesting plant first found in the Sierra Castril is Castrilanthemum debeauxii, there are records of it in only 2 other local sierras. The plants grow on dry stony slopes between 1700 and 1800 m (also called Pyrethrum debeauxii).

Much of the reforestation schemes have introduced new trees such as Aleppo (Pinus halepensis), Scots (Pinus sylvestris) and Austrian pine (Pinus pinaster subsp nevadensis). Black pines (Pinus nigra subsp. Clusiana) are tall trees reaching 40m which are on the exposed higher reaches.

Growing with them are spreading Juniper (Juniperus sabina var. humilis) and common Juniper (Juniperus communis subsp. hemisphaerica). In less protected zones are Prostrate cherry (Prunus prostrata), White beam (Sorbus aria) and Daphne (Daphne oleoides, D. laureola). On open high ground dense cushion shaped plants form including Hedgehog broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Astragalus (Astragalus giennesis), Thyme (Thymus gadorensis) and the crucifers Vella spinosa and Hormathophylla spinosa.

Oaks such as Holm (Quercus rotundifolia) and Gall (Quercus faginea) live in humid areas with Prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), Evergreen buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) and Spurge flax (Daphne gnidium).

The many water courses support Poplar, Willow, Ash and Wild cherry (Prunus avium). Other shrubs include Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Rockroses (Cistus clusii, C. albidus), Gorse (Genista scorpius) and Thyme (Thymus orospedanus.)


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Fauna

Raptors within the park include Short-toed, Golden and Booted eagles, Griffon and Egyptian vultures, Peregrines and Black kite.

The endangered Spanish lynx is the most noteworthy mammal amongst Spanish ibex, Mouflon, Wild boar, Fallow deer, Stone marten and Wild cat.

The rivers hold trout, otter, grey heron, kingfisher and dipper.

Reptiles include the very localized Valverde lizard, Painted frogs, Southern midwife toads, Lataste’s vipers, Salamanders and Grass snakes.

Also in the area

  • Castril has been a fortified camp for the Romans and in the 13thC an Arab stronghold.
  • Crafts of the village include Esparto grass products, pottery and wooden furniture.
  • A glass factory which opened around 1940 closed at the end of the last century but some of their wares are on display in the visitor centre

Information/Visitors Centers

Castril visitor centre and ethnographic museum (Take the signposted exit at Km. 2 of the Castril-Pozo Alcón stretch of the A-326 on the outskirts of the village of Castril.)

http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/servtc5/ventana/mostrarFicha.do?idEquipamiento=19878&lg=EN

This visitor centre focuses on the importance of the River Castril.

Visitors strolling through the centre’s interactive zone can try their hand at identifying the prints left by different animals in the soil and the song of different species of birds. All the species described are native to the Sierra de Castril.

There is an excellent Ethnographic exhibition which includes tools and everyday utensils donated by the local population to illustrate traditional activities such as livestock breeding, glassblowing, wood production and spoon making.


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