A crescent shape of mountains curves around the marshy area of the Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park.

Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park

  • Region: Valencian Community
  • Province: Alicante, Valencia
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1995
  • Park surface area: 1,255 hectares
  • A listed Ramsar wetlands site
  • Towns and villages: Pego, Oliva (Nearby cities of Gandia, Denia and Javia)

Points of interest

A crescent shape of mountains curves around the marshy area of the Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park. The sand bar and fixed dunes close in the coastal extreme therefore creating a basin with a gentle slope to hold water from the two rivers. The Río Vedat / Bullens at the northern edge collects water from the mountains and flows to the Mediterranean sea, with much of its waters entering the marshes. The Río Racons / Molinell runs through the southern part of the marsh, connected by a network of irrigation channels and also has an outlet to the sea.

There are also fresh water springs which rise within the park area. Salinity in the water is variable, but highest close to the sand bar and river outlets.

The mountains, Serra de Mostalla, to the north and Serra de Segària to the south are mainly limestone. This allows water to drain freely, therefore feeding the reed beds, pools, scrub land, rice fields, citrus orchards and livestock grazing. The park, which is shared between Valencia and Alicante, attracts a varied list of bird species and many ornithologists enjoy the area for photography.

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Flora

This wetland has Tamarix, Rushes, Grasses, Reeds and aquatic plants in the natural areas with citrus orchards, rice fields and damp pastures in the parts that are farmed. The submerged species include, Spiked watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), Common hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum), Fennel pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus) and Long-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus). There are many floating weeds of the Duckweed family (Lemna sp.).

White water-lily (Nymphaea alba), Lesser Bulrush (Typha angustifolia), Branched bur-reed (Sparganium erectum), Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus), Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and Water couch grass (Paspalum distichum) grow in the irrigation ditches. Sea club-rush (Scirpus maritimus) tolerates the brackish water. Uncultivated land holds extensive reed beds including the Common reed (Phragmites australis), white flowering Brookweed (Samolus valerandi) and Saltmarsh morning glory (Ipomoea sagittata) in the damp pastures

The dunes are home to a set of plants that are salt tolerant and also help to stabilize them, Golden samphire (Inula crithmoides), Sea rush (Juncus maritimus), Great Fen-sedge (Cladium mariscus), Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria), Sea bindweed (Calystegia soldanella) and Sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum) are amongst them.

Fauna

In the water are Valencia toothcarp (Valencia hispanica), Spined loach (Cobitis taenia), Common goby (Pomatoschistus microps) European eel (Anguilla anguilla), Mullet species, Common carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio) and the introduced Black-bass (Micropterus salmoides). Freshwater shrimps include Dugastella valentina, Athyaephyra desmaresti and the endemic Paleomonetes zariquieyi plus the freshwater mussels Anodota cygnea and Unio mancus.

There are two forms of terrapins that inhabit the marshes, European pond terrapin (Emys orbicularis) and the Meditteranean pond terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).

This is an important breeding ground for an endangered species of duck, the Marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris).

There is a vast array of breeding birds in the marshes, here are just a few: Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybridus), Savi’s Warbler (Locustella luscinioides), Reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides), Black-crowned night heron (nycticorax nycticorax), Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and Purple gallinule /swamp hen (Porphyrio porphyrio). Over head you may see Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Booted eagle (Aquila pennata), Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

Also in the area

  • In the marshland there are remains of Neolithic palafitte settlements, these were buildings on stilts to raise them above the water level.
  • Nearby lies Font Salada, a spring of thermal water with medicinal properties for the skin.
  • The “Castillo de Ambra” was reportedly built around the 13thC by the Muslims. It is set on a rocky escarpment.
  • La Cova del Rull” is a cave discovered in 1919 and open for visitors to view the stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Museo contemporáneo in Pego (Museum)
  • Museo etnológico in Pego (Museum)

Information/Visitors Centers

The Punto de Información Ambiental Muntanyeta Verda is well signposted and easy to find and has information about the wildlife to be found in the area.

The official website for the Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park is here: http://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-marjal-de-pego-oliva/noticies-del-parc/-/asset_publisher/0QJBfObxj00l/content/punto-de-informacion-ambiental-de-la-muntanyeta-verda-



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