The largest protected area in the Valencian Community, the Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park (in Valencian Parc Natural de les Gorges del Cabriol)

Hoces de Cabriel Natural Park

  • Region: Valencian Community
  • Province: Valencia
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2005
  • Included in the Valle del Cabriel Biosphere Reserve: 2019
  • Park surface area: 31,446 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Requena , Venta del Moro , Villargordo del Cabriel , Minglanilla , Villalpardo, Villarta

Points of interest

The largest protected area in the Valencian Community, the Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park (in Valencian Parc Natural de les Gorges del Cabriol) can be found where the Cabriel river acts as the natural boundary between the regions of Castilla la Mancha and the Valencian Community. On the Castilla la Mancha side the area is known as the Hoces de Cabriel Nature Reserve. However, both now are also a part of the Valle del Cabriel Biosphere Reserve which was declared by UNESCO in 2019

The biosphere reserve includes the entire 220 kilometres of the rivers length and encompasses 52 towns in Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel and Valencia and includes;

  • 11 places of community importance – Lugares de Importancia Comunitaria (LIC)
  • 5 zones of speceial conservation – Zona Especial de Conservación (ZEC)
  • 9 zones of special bird protection – Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves (ZEPA)
  • 6 micro reserves – Microreservas
  • 2 natural monuments – Monumentos Naturales
  • 2 natural parks – Parques Naturales
  • 1 nature reserve – Reserva Natural

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Places to explore for the best wildlife spotting

  • Close to Villargordo del Cabriel : La Rambla de Canalejas and the Barranco de Moluengo.
  • Close to Venta del Moro : El Barranco del Moro, Peñon Hundido, Barranco de Lombardo, Barranco del Tollo Guisopo and Rambla del Boquerón.
  • Close to Requena : Rambla Carretera, Salinas del Saladar, Rambla la Albosa, Rambla de la Alcantarilla, Rambla de los Duques, Rambla de los Morenos, Rambla Caballero and Salinas de Hórtola.

Flora

The most important habitats in the area are associated with the fluvial environment and the surrounding cliffs (Hoces and Cuchillos). The Cabriel river valley is a well preserved riparian woodland made up of poplar, willow and tamarix. The forested areas are rich in Mediterranean species such as rosemary, mastic tree, strawberry tree, box and juniper whilst closer to the water, reed beds also provide an important habitat in the area.

The rocky walls that surround the river are covered with formations of Allepo pine (Pinus halepensis) with occasional presence of holm oak (Quercus ilex Rotundifolia) and Valencian oaks (Quercus faginea).

As areas of special botanical interest look out for and ask in the information centres about;

  • The stone pine and holm oaks from Campo Arcís.
  • The Quejigos de Hórtola. (Ancient pollarded oak trees)
  • The Pino de los Dos Hermanos in Villargordo del Cabriel. ( A stunning pine tree)

Fauna

The Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park presents an exceptional interest regarding the fauna; both for the habitats of the cliffs and for the habitats associated with the river, both with numerous species cataloged of interest.

Raptors such as Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and long- eared owl (Asio otus) are in the area and their presence has led to the declaration of Hoces del Cabriel as an SPA (Special Protection Area for Birds) within the NATURA 2000 NETWORK .

The Cabriel River is also one of the best river reserves in the Valencian Community and holds a healthy population of european otter (Lutra lutra) along with the autochthonous European freshwater crayfish (Austrapotamobius pallipes) and populations of Chondrostoma arrigonis (a species of cyprinid fish endemic to Spain and only found in the Júcar River basin.)

Amphibians and reptiles present include Spanish painted frog (Discoglossus jeanneae), Iberian ribbed newt (Pleurodeles waltl), Mediterranean pond terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and Turkish gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus).

Mammals include European polecat (Mustela putorius), European otter (Lutra lutra) and Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica)

Walking routes.

There are six color coded routes in the park

  • Ruta amarilla: Villargordo del Cabriel – Vadocañas
  • Ruta naranja: Peñas Blancas
  • Ruta roja: Los Isidros – Caballeros
  • Ruta azul: Venta del Moro – Puente de Vadocañas
  • Ruta verde: Casas del Río – Caballeros
  • Ruta morada: Ruta Geológica. Los Cuchillos-Barranco Moluengo

On this link https://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-hoces-del-cabriel/rutas-del-parque-natural You will find maps and the GPX download area for the routes

Paleontological site “el Puente de la Vía”

The paleontological site “el Puente de la Vía“, located in the municipality of Venta del Moro, has an immense wealth of mammals and fossil plants from the terminal Miocene (approximately 6 million years Important fossil finds here include the oldest giant camels in Europe (Paracamellus Aguirrei), antelopes (Tragoportax Ventiensis), ancestors of bulls (Parabos Soriae), hippos , giant elephant and saber tooth tigers.

The site is located 1.5 km. from Venta del Moro on the Casas de Pradas road

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Información Hoces de Cabriel Natural Park

The main information center and the management office of the Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park are located on Calle Sindicato Agrícola s in the village of Venta del Moro. Here you will find an exhibition centred around the Cabriel River and its unique ecosystem that makes up the protected area including flora, fauna and geology

The official website for the Hoces de Cabriel Natural Park is: https://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-hoces-del-cabriel/centro-de-interpretacion

All the towns and villages in the area have information centres that can supply you with information about the biosphere reserve.

Official website for the Biosphere reserve is here: https://www.reservabiosferavalledelcabriel.com


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