Diclofenac NSAIDS and the threat to Iberian vultures

Such a shame that we still have this issue after decades. Diclofenac seems to have killed the first vultures in Spain many years after the Asian populations were virtually wiped out by this drug used by vets.

Read about it and join in on the conversations at the Iberia Nature Forum

Read more here: https://iberianatureforum.com/forums/topic/diclofenacnsaids-and-the-threat-to-iberian-vultures/

Peñalara Natural Park

  • Region: Madrid
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1990
  • Park surface area: 768 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Rascafria

Points of interest

Some history behind the Peñalara Natural Park

During the 1920s there was a plan to create the Guadarrama National Park due to its important ecological value. The plan never started though due to changes in government and the Spanish Civil War. The area was, however, declared a Natural Site of National Interest in 1930, with the aim of preserving the landscape from external attacks. Even with that protection, in 1969 the ski resort of Valcotos was built which occupied much of Peñalara mountain and the construction of ski lifts, small buildings, slopes and various clearings caused serious damage to the flora, fauna and the terrain.

During the 1980s, a project was created to protect the eastern slope of the Peñalara peak including the lagoons and in 1990, the Community of Madrid declared the area as a natural park of the Cumbre, Circo and Lagunas de Peñalara. From 1998 to early 2000 the ski resort of Valcotos that occupied much of the southern part of the protected area was dismantled, the ski lifts were removed and the old tracks were planted with Scots pine.

Present day protection

Since the early 2000s, the government of the Community of Madrid and that of Castilla y León carried out a project to declare a large part of the Sierra as a National Park and after the declaration of the Sierra de Guadarrama National park, the Peñalara Natural Park, Cirque and Lakes Nature Reserve (Parque Natural de la Cumbre, Circo y Lagunas de Peñalara) now comes under the control of and is inside the limits of the Guadarrama National Park.

This beautiful high mountain habitat is situated just a short distance from the capital Madrid. The highest summit of the park is Pico Peñalara itself, at a height of 2,430 metres. The park is very popular for hiking, climbing and cross-country skiing during winter.

At the Peñalara Massif there are several wetlands with a great interest and ecological value, which origin is linked to the glacial activity of the last glaciations period. The Peñalara Lake (La Laguna Grande de Peñalara) extraordinary beautiful cirque. There are other smaller lakes such as the birds lake (La Laguna de los Pájaros) and the carnations lake (La Laguna de Claveles) plus numerous ponds and peat soils dotted around the massif.

The habitat of this high-mountain aquatic ecosystems richness has allowed the Peñalara Massif Wetlands inclusion as a Ramsar Site on the list of wetlands of international importance.

The vegetation of this natural park is composed of high mountain shrub formations, grasslands and Scots pine forests that only occur in the lower areas. In the highest parts, alpine meadows and rocky areas predominate. Some animal species that inhabit this place are black vulture, imperial eagle, small mammals and in the humid areas we can find rare species such as the Alpine newt, and threatened mammals such as Pyrenean desman and Cabrera vole (two rare endemic species from northern Spain and southern France.)

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Information/Visitors Centers

Peñalara Visitors Center

Ctra. M-604, Km 42. Puerto de los Cotos

The Peñalara Visitors Center is located at the Cotos mountain pass (Puerto de Los Cotos). There are audio visual displays and exhibitions covering the geology, fauna and flora of the area.

Open every day
Winter (November – March): from 8:00 to 18:00
Summer (April – October): from 8:00 to 21:00

The official website for the Guadarrama National Park is here: https://www.parquenacionalsierraguadarrama.es/en

Guadarrama National Park

  • Region: Madrid and Castilla y León
  • Province: Madrid and Segovia
  • Declared a National Park: 2013
  • Park surface area: 33, 960 hectares
  • Towns and Villages: (Madrid) Alameda del Valle, Becerril de la Sierra, Canencia, Cercedilla, El Boalo, Guadarrama, Los Molinos, Lozoya, Manzanares el Real, Miraflores de la Sierra, Navacerrada, Navarredonda y San Mamés, Pinilla del Valle, Rascafría, Soto del Real. (Segovia) Aldealengua de Pedraza, Basardilla, Collado Hermoso, El Espinar, Gallegos, La Losa, Navafría, Navas de Riofrío , Ortigosa del Monte, Otero de Herreros, Palazuelos de Eresma, Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, Santiuste de Pedraza, Santo Domingo de Pirón, Segovia, Sotosalbos, Torre Val de San Pedro, Torrecaballeros, Trescasas.

Points of interest

Not without it’s controversy over the years (due to it conflicting with housing and other human development plans), the Guadarrama National Park project was finally declared in 2013.

Its aims are to protect the eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of “high Mediterranean mountain”. There are almost 1,300 different animal species in the area of which 13 are in danger of extinction. The species of animals in the mountains represent 45% of the total fauna of Spain and 18% of European fauna. There are mammals such as deer (red, roe and fallow), wild boar, Spanish Ibex, badgers, several mustelidaes, wild cats, foxes, hares, etc. Iberian wolf also seems to have returned to the area after a 70-year absence..

Also present are many species of waterfowl in the reservoirs and iconic raptors such as the Spanish imperial eagle, Golden eagle and Eurasian black vulture.

More than 1,500 native plants and 30 different types of vegetation habitat exist in the Guadarrama National Park and vegetation features Scots pine, oak, juniper and many other species.

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If you in the area then give John Muddeman a call at Iberian Wildlife Tours

The Guadarrama National Park has an excellent website for researching before you visit the area. Check out the official website here…
https://www.parquenacionalsierraguadarrama.es/en/

Lookouts and viewpoints (Miradors)

These are the best places to head for as they are normally in places of outstanding natural beauty and have information panels and accesses to footpaths etc. The below information is taken from the official website for the Guadarrama National Park. (I haven’t changed or corrected any of the text)

Rascafría

Los Robledos Viewpoint

Spectacular viewpoint and monument dedicated to the Forest Guards First Centenary. The access is through a paved detour from the M-604 road direction Los Cotos, slightly before getting to La Isla recreation area. A parking lot is available. From that natural promontory, the views of El Paular intermountain valley are just splendid. The valley is bordered by the Mounts Carpetanos and Cuerda Larga, with the Peñalara massif at the back. It is one of the most remarkable natural viewpoints of the whole Lozoya Valley.
La Gitana Viewpoint, Los Cotos Pass

Mirador de La Gitana

It is an easy accessible viewpoint from the Puerto de Los Cotos railway station, and from the same name parking lot. At the viewpoint, a large stretch of Cuerda Larga can be contemplated. There is as well a sundial allowing learning the solar time, and an “orienting aid” dedicated to the poet Federico García Lorca in order to facilitate the surrounding heights identification. Slightly earlier, and just in front of the Peñalara Visitors Center, is located as well El Príncipe viewpoint.

Manzanares El Real

Quebrantaherraduras Viewpoint, La Pedriza

The viewpoint is easily accessible in about 100 m through the path PR-M16 direction Sierra de los Porrones, detour taken at the Quebrantaherraduras track, located at La Pedriza road. At this point, the panorama opens to the captivating La Pedriza landscape, one of the larger Europe granitic ensembles. From a Peripheral perspective it is possible to observe Los Porrones north slope, La Maliciosa summit, La Bola del Mundo, Cuerda Larga ridge and La Pedriza Posterior and Anterior. At the viewpoint, you may contemplate Cuerda Larga ridge, La Pedriza Posterior with a cirque shape, La Pedriza Anterior crowned by El Yelmo, and slightly emerging, La Camorza Gorge where runs the Manzanares river looking for its exit to the reservoir.

El Collado de los Pastores Viewpoint, La Pedriza

From the last Canto Cochino parking lot, at the end of La Pedriza road, the viewpoint is accessible through the forest path Las Zetas, after a zigzagging 5 hours hike. An alternative and more direct option is to leave Las Zetas path after 3 km and take Los Chorros del Río Manzanares path, just before The French Bridge (Puente de los Franceses), and up to The Manchegos Bridge (Puente de los Manchegos), and then to climb through the path the last km up to the viewpoint. At this point, you may overlook one of La Pedriza densest pinewoods extensions, La Maliciosa summit, Los Porrones ridge, Cuerda Larga rounded heights, La Pedriza abrupt landscape with its whimsical forms, and at the bottom the Santillana reservoir leading to the Castilian meseta.

Navacerrada

Las Canchas Viewpoint

Las Canchas is La Barranca Valley viewpoint. It is accessible after an hour and half or a 2 hours hike, from the parking lot located at the end of the paved path issued from the M-607 road at 57 km, just after the Navacerrada entrance roundabout. After about a 20 minutes’ walk from the parking lot, there is a panel at the left side indicating the Ortiz Path (Senda Ortiz) detour, climbing the slope. After crossing a watercourse and reaching a wide meadow, the Ortiz path continues to the right joining the itinerary initial forest path and leading to the viewpoint 1 km further. At the spot it is possible to contemplate with an astonishing proximity the antenna at Las Guarramillas Peak and the ridge spread out from that summit up to La Maliciosa Peak.

Cercedilla

Mirador aleixandre

From La Fuenfría Valley parking lots, and following the orange spots at the trees, you may access to the Vicente Aleixandre and Luis Rosales viewpoints. In 1984, year of Vicente Aleixandre’ death, it is inaugurated at La Fuenfría Valley the viewpoint after him. Following the poets path, all of it chiseled with poems of Antonio Machado and José García Nieto among other, you will reach the Luis Rosales viewpoint. From those viewpoints it is possible to observe the Siete Picos wall, the Marichiva Col, La Peñota, Montón de Trigo, part of the narrow gauge train railway, and especially a panoramic view of many Sierra villages such as Guadarrama, Los Molinos and Cercedilla. Also might be contemplated Navalmedio and Valmayor reservoirs, El Escorial mounts and the City of Madrid on clear days.

El Lanchazo, La Calva or De La Reina Viewpoint

It is possible to access the viewpoint from La Fuenfría pass, descending La República road about 800 m. Another option is to ascend about 8 km through La República road, from the Majavilán parking lot.

La Fuenfría Valley is an emblematic viewpoint, visible from many spots of the valley, due to its wall built on stone and the also stone enormous longboat (Lancha). That is why it is also called “El Lanchazo”. Spectacular views of the whole La Fuenfría Valley can be observed, and as well its characteristic upside down bag shape. It is also possible to see some other Valley spots, like La Fuenfría Hospital or La Peñota, Peña Aguila and Marichiva heights.

Information/Visitors Centers

There are 5 official visitor interpretation centres and each one is well worth a visit.

Peñalara Visitors Center in Rascafría (Madrid)
Ctra. M-604, Km 42. Puerto de los Cotos. Rascafría

Valle de la Fuenfría Visitors Center in Cercedilla (Madrid)
Ctra. de las Dehesas, km 2 Cercedilla

La Pedriza Visitors Center in Manzanares El Real (Madrid)
Camino de la Pedriza, s/n Manzanares El Real

Valle de El Paular Visitors Center in Rascafría (Madrid)
Ctra. M-604 km 27,6 Rascafría

Valsaín Visitors Center (Boca del Asno) – La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia)
Ctra CL- 601 km 14,3 Valsaín

The official website for the Guadarrama National Park is here: https://www.parquenacionalsierraguadarrama.es/en/


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Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park

  • Region: Galicia
  • Province: Orense
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2002
  • Park surface area: 3,151 hectares
  • Towns and Villages: Rubiá, Oulego, O Robledo, Porto, O Real, Biobra, Covas, Vilardesilva, Pardollán

Points of interest

The Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park is a protected area that includes the surroundings of the Serra da Enciña da Lastra mountains and a limestone valley with steep slopes and cliffs, including the pena (rock) falcoeira , the Inferno valley (val do Inferno) and the penedos de Oulego (Oulego cliffs).

This area holds the the largest area of ​​oak forest in Galicia. The river Sil flows for about four kilometers along the eastern end of the park and in is damned to create the Penarrubia reservoir.

The highest points of the mountain range are O Piornal at 1529 meters and the Pena Tara at 1089 meters on the cliffs of Oulego.

There are outstanding holm oak woods, ancient chestnut groves and Mediterranean scrubland with fields of wild thyme and flowering plants endemic to limy soil and more than 25 species or orchid. The gorges and sheer river passes are the habitats of birds of prey and other birds which make the park an interesting ornithological refuge. It has the largest concentration of nesting birds in Galicia and there are also large colonies of bats residing in the caves.

Some areas of the Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park have restricted access. It is important to ask in the information centre if any of the routes that you want to walk requires a permit or is closed depending on the time of year.

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Flora

This is a true A botanists delight with more than 450 species of vascular flora is known in the area with many plants local to the region and a least 40 species are endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. Six are from Galicia: Armeria rothmaleri, Campanula adsurgens, Dianthus merinoi, Leontodon farinosus, Petrocoptis grandiflora, Rhamnus pumila subspecies legionensis.

Orchids are well represented with around 25 species with 6 being endemic to Galicia. Among the different species, are those of the genus Ophrys, which simulate the body of a bee. The Orchis italica Poir develops numerous populations of great showiness. Some of the species, extraordinary from the point of view of their rarity at the Galician level, are the pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, Cephalanthera rubra, Limodorum abortivum and Orchis purpurea .

There is a special significanceof the plant communities attached to limestone rocks including Campanula adsurgens, Crepis albida subsp. asturica, Festuca burnatii, Leontodon farinosus and Petrocoptis grandiflora.

Fauna

The list of mammals in the Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park is impressive with the presence of almost 50 species. This includes 9 species of bat such as the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale), Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii), Schreibers’s bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) and the European free-tailed bat (Tadarida teniotis).

Other mammals include wild cat (Felis sylvestris), otter (Lutra lutra), ermine (Mustela erminea), badger (Meles meles), European polecat (Mustela putorius), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Stone martin (Martes foina ).

Less common is the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus), which appears to occur occasionally in the area.

Viewpoints (Miradores) in the Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park

  • Alto da Escrita-Biobra (807 m). Views of the valley of the Galir and the river Sil with impressive cliff formations.
  • A Petada-Oulego (760 m). A Beautiful view of Oulego.
  • A Portela-Vilardesilva (640 m). Spectacular view of Vilardesilva and the cliff of Penarrubia.
  • Caprada north of Oulego (820 m). Stunning view of the north face of the Penedos de Oulego.
  • Fuente N-120-Covas (560 m). View of the Covas valley and the river Sil.
  • Pardollán (540 m). View of the Sil valley in Penarrubia and Pardollán.
  • Tanque-Covas (647 m). The best place in the Park to see birds of prey as from here as you can see the Pena Falcueira. Pena Falcueira has restricted access because it is a reserve area of ​​the Park.
  • Tunnel N-120-Covas (540 m). View of the Covas valley and the river Sil.
  • Valdesalvador-Biobra (800 m). View of the Galir valley and Serra Malvela.

Hiking and walking in the Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park

Ruta Valle del Sil – Low / Medium – 1.30 h – 5 km – Linear
The route begins in Vilardesilva, in the viewpoint of A Portela (640 m), with a splendid panorama of the rural nucleus seated in a slope in balcony on the dam of Penarrubia, at the foot of an immense cut limestone.

Ruta Tras os Penedos – Low – 25 min – 1.5 km – Circular
The route begins in the rest area of ​​Caprada and has a beautiful panorama of the northern slopes of the impressive Penedos de Oulego.

Ruta Soutos baixo Pena Falcueira – Medium / High – 1.45 h – 3.9 km – Circular
The

This route begins in the viewpoint area of Tanque (647 m), from which we see a magnificent panorama of the village of Covas

Ruta del “Caleiro” – Med / High – 3 h – 6 km – Linear
The route begins in the lower part of the village of Vilardesilva, along a community path that descends between fields, chestnut groves and pastures with herds of goats. The path descending towards the river gives a magnificent panoramic view of the dammed river Sil.

Ruta de O Real de Oulego – Med – 2.30 h – 4 km – Linear
The path starts in Oulego in the rest area of ​​A Ponte, next to the river Galir and takes you through vinyards and meadows. Take the left along an agricultural road and then cross the two wooden pontoons (Pontón de Lavegos and Pontón de Real de Oulego).

Ruta de la Vía Romana – Med – 3.30 h – 8.6 km – Circular
The path starts in a recreational area next to the river Galir, taking in the direction of the cemetery. Take the first detour to the left to Alto do Coiñal through a section of the Roman road that connected Astorga and Braga. This first section is characterized by crops, cork oaks, scrubland, heaths and meadows

Ruta de la Ermita de Santo Estevo – Med – 3 h – 6 km – Circular
In the rest area near Pardollán strart the walk towards the village. This takes you through forest landscape to the hermitage and mills

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Visitantes del Parque Natural Serra da Enciña da Lastra

Address: Praza dos Bolos, s/n. Biobra

This is a really well presented information center with ample information about what makes Enciña da Lastra a unique and special part of Galicia.

The staff are very well informed and can help with walking routes (See above), history, flora and fauna of the area.

Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park - Visitor Centre
Serra da Enciña da Lastra Natural Park – Visitor Centre

Summer Hours (May 1 to September 30, Tuesday through Sunday)
Morning: 10:30 – 14:00 / Afternoon: 16:00 – 19:30
Closed on Monday

Winter Hours: (March 15 to April 30 and October 1 to November 15 Friday through Sunday)
Morning: 10:30 – 14:00
Closed on Thursday


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Monte o Invernadeiro Natural Park

  • Region: Galicia
  • Province: Orense
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1997
  • Park surface area: 5722 hectares
  • Towns and Villages: Villarino de Conso

Points of interest

The high mountains of the Monte o Invernadeiro Natural Park can only be described as stunning with its peaks and valleys covered in grasses, large extensions of scrub, woodland and riverside habitat. The area receives maximum protection and admits a maximum of just 30 visitors per day so a permit from the park authorities is required in order to enter the protected area. (Ask about this in your hotel or other accommodation, maybe they can get the permits for you.)

The park has several interesting trails of biological, geological and cultural interest. Some are the Valdeirexa or Cercados route, the Aceveda route, the A Troitas route, the A Agua route, the A Corga route and the Ortiga route

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Flora

The park’s endemic forests are slow-growing and typical of mountain climates. The species that form them and are more abundant are oaks (Quercus robur, Quercus pyrenaica, Quercus petraea). The oak groves are found mainly in the avesedos and valgadas areas and mixed in with them and also found in other areas are holly (Ilex aquifolium), hazel (Corylus avellana), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), hazelnut (Corylus avellana), Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus), birch (Betula celtiberica), yew (Taxus baccata), willow (Salix caprea), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). There are also plantations of various pine species scattered around.

In higher areas species like Erica australis subsp. aragonensis can be seen, and at slightly lower altitudes Genista tridentata. In the rocks and crevices endemisms like Armeria ciliata or Dianthus langeanus are present.

In the shady areas of the forests there is a wealth of ferns and endemics plants such as Aphanolejaeunea microscopica, Anemone trifolia subspecies albida and Eryngium duriaei subspecies juresianum

Fauna

There are various species of amphibians and reptiles to look out for such as Iberian frog (Rana iberica), European common frog (Rana temporaria) and Iberian tree frog (Hyla molleri). Some of the reptiles are Iberian rock lizard (Iberolacerta monticola), Shreibers green lizard (Lacerta schreiberi). The ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus), Iberian wall lizard (Podarcis hispanica), Bocage’s wall lizard (Podarcis bocagei ), Smooth snake(Coronella austriaca), Seoane viper (Vipera seoanei), Latastes viper (Vipera latastei), viperine water snake (Natrix maura) and grass snake (Natrix natrix)

The Iberian wolf is present here with a stable population and they feed on wild ungulates such as roe deer, red deer, Spanish ibex, wild boar,and the Iberian hare. Other mammals present are wildcat (Felis silvestris), Stone marten (Martes martes), ermine (Mustela erminea), European polecat (Mustela putorius), otter (Lutra lutra), badger (Meles meles), genet (Genetta genetta), and fox (Vulpes vulpes).

Regarding the avifauna present, more than 80 species have been recorded and more than 60 breeding in the area such as golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus), Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Grey partridge (Perdix perdix subsp. hispaniensis), Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), Tawny pipit (Anthus campestris), little owl (Athene noctua), Tawny owl (Strix aluco), Long-eared owl (Asio otus), Short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus ), Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), common buzzard (Buteo buteo) and Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus).

Geological interest

Within the park there are several places of geological interest. Some are glacial circuses (at the head of Corga de Aguacenza, in Morrón dos Salgueiros and in Fial das Corzas), others are folds (such as the confluence of A Corga Cenzoá and Ribeira Grande, or the head of Corga da Ortiga), terraces (the alluvial of Ribeira Grande) or embankments (the end of the Ribeira Pequena), others are colluviums (like the one of the Corgo das Cembas-Ribeira Grande) and other waterfalls (like the waterfall and Cristas de Corgo da Buraquiña). Fossil sites are also present , such as those of A Ortiga, Altos do Cernado and O Cernado.

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de recepción del Parque Natural de O Invernadeiro

The best place to head for is the Centro de recepción (main visitor centre) del Parque Natural de O Invernadeiro reached via the OU-114 from Verín, turning off on a signposted forest track which leads to the entrance.
(Ribeira Pequena, s/n. 32547 Vilariño de Conso)

Permits can be be obtained in advance from the Servizo de Conservación da Natureza de Ourense Rúa do Paseo, 18 – 5º. Ourense.
Tel: 988 386 376 – 988 386 029
E-mail: servizo.conservacion.natureza.ourense@xunta.es

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ribeira Grande’s Interpretation Centre even if you are unable to get a permit to enter the restricted area as it features the Ruta dos Cercados (Enclosures). This is a great footpath through natural habitat taking you past various enclosures containing red deer, spanish ibex, fallow deer, chamois and mouflon.

The official website for the Monte o Invernadeiro Natural Park is here: https://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/espazos-naturais/parques-naturais/o-invernadeiro


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Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park

  • Region: Galicia
  • Province: Orense
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1993
  • Park surface area: 20,920 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Entrimo, Lovios, Muiños, Bande, Olelas, A Terrachá

Points of interest

The Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park and, on the Portuguese side of the border, the Peneda-Gerês National Park are now joined to create the Gerês-Xurés Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (RBTGX) With an area of ​​267,958 ha, of protected territory in two natural spaces divided between Spain and Portugal.

On the Spanish side the stunning scenery, the towns and small villages such as Casola are a delight to discover. The A Fecha waterfalls are well worth a visit and whilst you are out and about look out for the “Cachena” cows, a small breed with huge horns that are native to the area and which in recent years have been rescued from the danger of extinction by various breeding programmes.

The spa town of Lobios, with its thermal waters from the river Caldo holds Roman remains of the mansio Aquis Originis and Aquis Querquernnis is a Roman site made up of a camp and a mansio viaria located on the banks of the As Conchas reservoir in the village of Bande.

The Lindoso reservoir in the central area of ​​the park between Entrimo and Lobios , and the Salas river reservoir, in Muíños in the east of the park are well worth the visit and another smaller reservoir is the Olelas in the A Corga do Porto do Medio irrigation canal, a tributary of the Castro Laboreiro river located in Entrimo.

Flora

The Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park is a transitional area between Euro-siberian flora (Atlantic) and that of the Mediterranean and combined with altitude factors holds a diverse array of plantlife with scrubland on the peaks and forests of oak and other species in the valleys along with important riverside woodlands. The flora of the park is characterized by a deciduous forest, with Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), birch (Betula celtiberica) and Mediterranean elements such as strawberry tree and holly. There are several endemic plants such as the Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica) which is a species that colonizes ravines and other areas of high humidity.

Other interesting plantlife some on the endangered list for the area are: Arabis juressi, Armeria humilis subsp. odorata, Christella dentata, Eryngium duriaei subsp. juresianum, Iris boissieri, Prunus lusitanica, Ranunculus bupleuroides, Selinum carvifolia subsp. broteri, Sedum pruinatum, Serratula legionensis, Silene marizii, Spiranthes aestivalis, Thymelaea broteriana and Veronica micrantha.

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Fauna

There is a healthy population of Iberian wolf in this area and their prey such as wild boar, red deer and Spanish Ibex.

Look out for the Galician pony or garrano, reintroduced into the region under a programme of recuperation of native species. There are also healthy populations of wildcat, the genet, otter, hare, rabbit and mink.

30 species of amphibians and reptiles have been recorded in the area including golden-striped salamander (Chioglossa lusitanica), large psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), ladder snake (Zamensis scalaris) and latastes viper (Vipera latasti).

Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park is also a special protection area for birds (ZEPA) thanks to its richness in birdlife and stands out for the typical Mediterranean and mountain species of Euro-Siberian regions (and for the species present in the two reservoirs of the park). Look out for golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus), Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), Red kite (Milvus milvus) and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

Not to miss in the Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park

  • The mámoas road, which runs through the Leboreiro mountain range and where the Xurés, the Quinxo and the Peneda can be seen. In its heights the necropolises, the tombs and mámoas stand out.
  • A Queguas, where the megalithic remains of the Casa da Moura are located.
  • Padrendo, to see the plain of the Chan do Ventoselo and the mountains of Santa Eufemia and the Xurés.
  • Hermitage of Xurés, between valleys of the Vilameá and the Mine of the Shadows (Mina das Sombras) where the summits with impressive granite formations and the mining operation can be seen.
  • The Corga da Fecha, which goes from the thermal village of Lobios to the Ponte Nova following the Roman Via Nova.
  • Vilameá river, where the mills of this river and an alvariza stand out.
  • From Cela to Pitões, a route that goes up from Cela to Portela de Pitões.

Information/Visitors Centers

The emphasis in the tourist offices in this area is mainly about the roman history. There are some fascinating museums and information points in various towns and villages.

Centro de Interpretación “Aquae Querquennae Via Nova

The main offices of the Interpretation Centre for the Baixa Limia-Serra do Xures Natural Park are easy to find, located in the spa town of Lobios

Aquis Quequennis Complejo Arqueológico Romano

For Roman history a vist to the Archaeological Roman Complex is highly recommended.
Website: https://eng.querquennis.com/centro-de-interpretacion/

The official tourist website for the area is here: https://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/espazos-naturais/parques-naturais/parque-natural-baixa-limia-serra-do-xures?langId=en_US


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