Due to its proximity to Murcia, the Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park (Parque Regional Carrascoy y El Valle) constitutes the main "green lung" of the capital

Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park

  • Region: Murcia
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1979. Regional Park 1992. Also listed as a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) and a Site of Community Importance (SCI).
  • Park surface area: 17,410 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Murcia, Fuente Álamo de Murcia, Alhama de Murcia, Sangonera la Verde, El Palmar, La Alberca, Beniaján, Corvera, Gea,Truyols and Sucina.

Points of interest

Due to its proximity to Murcia, the Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park (Parque Regional Carrascoy y El Valle) constitutes the main “green lung” of the capital and its entire metropolitan area and It is made up of the extensive chain of mountains that close the valley of the Segura river and a part of the Guadalentín valley to the south.

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The main peaks and mountain passes in El Valle y Carrascoy Regional Park

  • Sierra de Carrascoy, the largest and highest of the complex at 1065 meters.
  • Sierra del Puerto, crowned at 532 meters by the Moorish castle of La Asomada that dominates the mountain pass of of La Cadena
  • Cresta del Gallo owes its name to the set of peaks whose shape resembles those of a rooster’s crest. The summit rises to around 500 meters
  • El Relojero at 603 meters is called El Valle by the locals and is the locationof a traditional recreational area nestled in one of the valleys of the mountains.
  • Miravete at 425 meters is a continuation of the Sierra de la Cresta del Gallo
  • Columbares, stands alone at the eastern end of the protected area at 646 meters.
  • Sierra Altaona is the driest and most rugged of those that make up the park and stands out for its eroded crags and ravines

Flora

A varied landscape with plantations of Aleppo pines from the 1940’s and some areas of Holm oak contrasting with the more sparse vegetation of heath, scrub, maquis and garrigue covering. There are also lesser areas of dry grassland and steppe that carry plants that are well adapted to coping on poor soils with long spells of drought.

With the pines and forming the low scrub is European fan palm, Lentisc, Kermes oak, Rhamnus, Osyris (Osyris quadrapartita) with climbers Mediterranean honeysuckle (Lonicera implexa) and Smilax (Smilax aspera).

On the El Majal Blanco estate (owned by the Murcia City Council) located in the center of Sierras del Puerto there is a small formation of large cork oaks (Quercus suber) (over 100 years old) preserved among the holm oak forest (Quercus ilex).

The arid areas have sparse vegetation of Esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), yellow flowered Fumana (Fumana ericoides) summer-deciduous shrub Anthyllis cytisoides and Thyme (Thymus hiemalis).

Damp areas are home to Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) and Blue throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum). Water courses may have vegetation including Oleander (Nerium oleander), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Reeds (Phragmites australis) and Elm (Ulmus minor).

Endemic to the south west region of Spain is the yellow flowered Centaurea saxicola and Lafuentea rotundifolia which is an aromatic plant, the only member of the genus Lafuentea (Scrophulariaceae) it grows in calcareous and dolomitic rock crevices and under rock ledges. Sedum sediforme can be found growing in similar areas.

Soils rich in the mineral gypsum contain Teucrium libanitis and Santolina viscosa.

Fauna

Amongst the reptiles and amphibians you may see are la Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanica), Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus), Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus), Iberian spiny toad (Bufo spinosus) and Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). Mediterranean terrapin ( Mauremys leprosa) can be observed sunbathing on rocks at the waters edge.

Two birds for which the park obtained the ZEPA registration are the Eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and the Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Other raptors include Booted eagle (Aquila pennata), Common buzzard (Buteo buteo), Short Toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) and Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

A greater sample of the birdlife seen includes Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), Stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), Crested Lark (Galerida cristata), Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava), Wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus), Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), Great tit (Parus major), Crested tit (Parus cristatus), Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Green woodpecker (Picus viridis) and Woodlark (Lullula arborea).

Mammals within the park include Fox, Wild cat, Badger, Wild boar, Squirrel, Rabbit, and seven species of bats.

Information/Visitors Centers

El Valle Visitor Center

Carretera El Valle, 61, La Alberca

From Murcia take the A-30 towards Cartagena, turn off towards La Alberca, exit 148 and follow the signposts marked “El Valle“

The “El Valle” Visitor and Management Center houses rooms for information, communication and dissemination of the natural and cultural values ​​of the El Valle and Carrascoy Regional Park, as well as technical management offices and offices for the Park’s Forest Agents.

There are exhibitions covering the main values of the park, its flora, fauna and geology. There are also exhibits of marine fossils discovered in the area.

Information regarding the natural, cultural and historical values ​​of the Park, trails, recreational areas and other points of interest. The Center has an interpretation room dedicated exclusively to the values ​​of the Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park and In addition other exhibitions with different themes are exhibited. There is also a projection room in which an audiovisual divided into 3 parts is reproduced showing examples of the fauna, flora and cultural history of the area.

Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre El Valle (next to the visitor centre)

The CRFS Recovery Area, in operation since 1984, performs various works related to the conservation and recovery of protected species of wild fauna in the region of Murcia. These include the Program for the Recovery of Protected Wild Fauna Species .

Every year more than 2,500 animals are cared for (mainly birds but also reptiles, mammals and amphibians). Of these, around 40% are rehabilitated and returned to their natural environment, while some of those who do not manage to fully recover are relocated to the environmental education area.

There is also a Botanical Garden “Arboretum” showcasing local and worldwide plantlife.


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