Natural Spaces in Murcia (Espacio Natural) are areas of the natural environment that due to their aesthetic and cultural values need special protection in order to preserve both the natural environment and the human acticities connected with it.
Espacio Natural Cañón de Almadenes
This area covers two kilometers on the Quípar river and nine on the Segura river and is around 116 hectares close to the towns of Calasparra and Cieza. Some points of the gorge are quite narrow with vertical walls over a hundred meters high.
There is a reservoir called La Mulata, which causes a significant decrease in the flow of the river so the continuous water course is sometimes reduced to a group of ponds (especially in the summer months). The bulk of the flow is diverted to the Almadenes Hydroelectric Plant, located further downstream. However, at the exit of the power plant the water is fed back into the Segura river.
This area is notable for otters (Lutra lutra), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and many species of dragonfly and became very popular with kayakers, canoeists and other watersport enthusiasts (something that is not really compatible with a wildlife reserve).
Recently, stricter laws have come into place in order to access the area and at certain times of year (1st January to the 15 de July) access is even more restricted so check with your hotel or a local tourist office before you visit this area.
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Sierra de la Muela, Cabo Tiñoso y Roldán
The natural area of the Sierra de la Muela, Cape Tiñoso and Roldán is located to the west of the municipality of Cartagena and extends to the Bay of Mazarrón. It is of great ecological importance and over 11,000 hectares have been declared a ZEPA (Special Protection Area for Birds) and SCI (Place of Community Importance). The area occupies practically all the coastal mountain ranges to the west of Cartagena, in the area of Mount Roldán, continuing through the town of Galifa, El Portús, Sierra de la Muela, Cabo Tiñoso, Peñas Blancas, Campillo de Adentro, La Azohía and the Rambla del Cañar.
- Cabezo Negro de Tallante : The youngest volcano in the Region of Murcia, formed only a million years ago with visible lava flows and pyroclastic formations.
- Coastal strip between Azohía and El Portús : limestone cliffs, among which Cala Cerrada, Cala Salitrona, the arch of Cabo Tiñoso and the Aguja de La Muela stand out.
- Peñas Blancas : An impressive vertical cliff with the associated Mediterraneun Fauna and Flora.
Cabo Tiñoso marine reserve
The seabed of Cabo Tiñoso holds a great wealth and diversity of underwater flora and fauna and the the richness, beauty and diversity of this area has made it one of the favorite diving destinations in Spain. Most of the companies dedicated to this activity are located in the town of La Azohía.
In July 2009, the Ministry of the Environment of the Region of Murcia began the procedures for the declaration of a protected area around Cabo Tiñoso with an area of almost 22,000 hectares, of which 84 hectares would be conserved. In 2016 it was declared a marine reserve of fishing interest which makes it the second marine reserve in Murcia after the Cabo de Palos and Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve.
Saladares del Guadalentín
Los Saladares del Guadalentín is a Protected Natural Area along the Guadalentín river close to the towns of Alhama de Murcia and Totana. It is an extensive and very unusual alluvial steppe terrain but with saline wetlands which makes the area an ideal habitat for steppe-type birds, such as the Montagu’s harrier.
In the salt flats of the Guadalentín there is the largest European population of “Almarjo” (Halocnemum strobilaceum)
Sierra de Salinas
This Espacio Natural Protegido close to the town of Yecla is formed by a fold of limestone rocks creating a mountain range that occupies an area of around 15 square kilometers with the highest peak being La Capilla at 1,238 meters.
This area forms a natural border between the north of Murcia in the municipality of Yecla and the towns of Villena and Saladares in the region of Valencia.
In this mountain range there are numerous routes and natural areas to discover such as the Microrreserva de la Cueva del Lagrimal, El mirador de Rabasa and the Fuente del Lobo.
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