Tag Archives: Natural Parks in Spain

Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro

The natural park of Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro. Above image – Dehesa de encinas con viboreras – Photo by Zumaya Ambiente Creativo.

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Granada
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 41, 212 hectares

Points of interest

The natural park of Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro is a combination of gentle hills with outcrops of batholithic boulders, forest and meadows. The highest point being 828m at La Colmena.

It is located on the north eastern border of Cordoba and is separated from the natural park of Andújar in Jaen by the deeply ravined river Yeguas. There are cultivated fields along with Cork and Holm oak forests plus dense natural Mediterranean scrub.

This Natural park is part of the Sierra Morena and shares some endangered species in common with other natural parks in this mountain range. The Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro has among its inhabitants the protected Lynx and Wolf.


Hotels in the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro

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Flora

On a humid plateau near Cardeña there is a woodland of Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) with shrubs of rockrose and lavenders. It is the only woods of this type in Cordoba province. The most dominant oak trees are Holm (Quercus ilex) and Cork (Q. suber) with small areas of Gall oaks (Q. faginea).

The undergrowth consists of Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), rock roses (Cistus sp), Lentisc (Pistacia lentisc), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Wild olive (Olea europaea subsp oleaster) and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo).

There are also reforestation areas of Stone pine (Pinus pinea) and Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). The river banks are clothed with Willows, Ash, Oleanders, Black poplar and Alder.

Fauna

Dense thicket gives cover to much wildlife including Red, Fallow and Roe deer, Wild boar, Badger, Fox, Mongoose, Stone martin, Genet, Wild cat, Weasels, Hare and Rabbit.

Among the raptors are Imperial, Bonelli’s, Booted, Short-toed and Golden eagles, Sparrow hawk, Goshawk, kite, Buzzards, Kestrel, Lesser kestrel and Peregrine. Black and Griffon vultures, Tawny, Long-eared, Little and Eagle owls.

Along the river you will find Kingfisher, Dipper, Nightingale, Warblers, Wrens, Stripe-necked terrapins and Barbel.

There is a hide for bird watching on the reservoir named Embalse de Tejoneras. The birds you may see include Herons, Egrets and Little grebes. Many aquatic birds rest here on this lake on their migratory routes.

Also in the area

Tin, copper and lead used to be mined in the area of Venta del Charco, where there are remains from the Iberian and Roman eras. Roman coins and silver Iberian vessels have been discovered at Azuel.

Remains of Megalithic graves from the Metal Age (3rd century B.C.) have been discovered at Torrubia.

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Visitantes Venta Nueva, just outside Cardeña at Km 79 on the A92.

This visitor centre in the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro has an interesting exhition displaying the typical Mediterranean landscape of this fertile highland zone, with its extensive dehesa pastureland, its Mediterranean scrub and its pine groves.

Visitors can follow the Cardeña-El Cerezo trail, which enters the dehesa and winds past a series of unusual granite blocks known as bolos.

For other sites and places to see try to visit the tourist office in the town ofCardeña. (Number 3, Miguel Gallo street)

Nearby towns

Cardeña, Montoro (Tourist office in Cardeña here in Spanish)


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Hornachuelos

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Cordoba
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 60,031 hectares

Points of interest

Oak woodland in Hornachuelos offers protection to endangered species such as Black vulture, Lynx, Black stork and Bonelli’s eagle.

This parkland covers the eastern end of the Sierra Morena, close to Cordoba. The western part of this range is divided into a further two parks as it is dissected by provincial borders, thus forming an extended belt of protection. Sierra Norte de Sevilla is within the province of Sevilla. Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche is in Huelva province. There are no high peaks, rather a more gentle outline crossed by many rivers, with several large reservoirs.

The river Bembézar and its reservoir cut through the centre of the park.


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Flora

Dominated by oaks with Holm, Gall and Cork oaks and a Mediterranean scrub being a mixture of; Lentisc, Myrtle, Strawberry tree, Kermes oak and Rockroses. There is a gentle transition between mountain coverage and farmland with Dehesas. These are farms which combine open planting of mixed oak trees with pasture land beneath.

The plentiful river valleys are lined with Oleander, Hawthorn, Ash, Willow and Poplars. Dwarf fan palms, wild olive and Carob trees are found in areas with limestone rock formations.

Pond weeds that inhabit the water courses are Potamogeton sp, horned pond weed (Zannichellia) and duck weed (Lemna).

Fauna

Of special note are Black vultures which have far fewer numbers in Spain than the Griffon vultures. They are of a larger size and nest in trees rather than cliffs. The third vulture in the park is the Egyptian vulture. Eagles recorded here are Golden, Short-toed and Bonelli’s. Other birds of prey include Goshawk, Kestrel and Buzzard.

Scrub covered slopes are home to Red deer, Wild boar and Mongoose. More secretive fauna of the park includes Wolf, Lynx, Otter and Black stork.

Also in the area

  • Farming cattle and Iberian pigs, hunting and cork collection are the area’s main natural resources.
  • There is an abandoned monastery set on a hillside above the Bembézar river, Monasterio de Santa María de los Ángeles, built in 1489 by Fray Juan de la Puebla, 10km northeast of Hornachuelos.

Information/Visitors Centers

La Huerta del Rey (1km out of Hornachuelos on the road north to San Calixto)

In the visitor centre there is a good exhibition detailing the wild life of the area concentrating especially mammals and large birds of prey. There is a recreation of a walk through the woods at night and the exhibition also illustrates traditional customs and activities in the Sierra de Hornachuelos such as hunting, beekeeping and cork production.

Towns in the area

Almodovar del Rio, Córdoba, Hornachuelos, Posadas, Villaviciosa de Córdoba


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Sierra Norte de Sevilla

Photo – Cerro del Hierro (Author: Arturo Menor)

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Sevilla
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 177,484 hectares

Points of interest

A semi-mountainous area, set between two other natural parks, which together form an extended protected range. To the east is Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche in Huelva province. To the west is Sierra de Hornachuelos in Cordoba province.

The Sierra Norte de Sevilla shares with its neiighbouring parks endangered creatures such as the Lynx, Black stork and Imperial eagle. Evergreen oak trees dominate the terrain, interspersed with meadows or dehesas.

This sparsely populated area has two lakes and rolling hills with winding country lanes.

The Huesna river, which holds both common and rainbow trout, has a waterfall that’s been declared a National Heritage site. It is near the source of the river (nacimiento del Río Huesna) close to the village of San Nicolás del Puerto.


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A second National Heritage site is El Cerro del Hierro, a mine in the Roman era and further exploited until the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a combination of open mining, water filled pits and natural Karst landscape with rich mineral content.

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