The Sierra Calderona Natural Park (in Valencian Parc natural de la Serra Calderona) is located between the provinces of Castellón and Valencia

Sierra Calderona Natural Park

  • Region: Valencian Community
  • Province: Castellón and Valencia
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2002
  • Park surface area: 18,000 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Albalat de Taronchers, Alcublas, Algimia de Alfara, Estivella, Gátova, Gilet, Liria, Marines, Náquera, Olocau, El Puig, Puzol, Sagunto, Serra, Torres Torres, Segart, la Villa de Altura, Segorbe.

Points of interest

The Sierra Calderona Natural Park (in Valencian Parc natural de la Serra Calderona) is located between the provinces of Castellón and Valencia and is part of a mountain range of around 60,000 hectares that separates the basins of the Palancia rivers to the north and Turia to the south. Due to its proximity to the city of Valencia, about 20 km, it is considered the main “green lung” of this densly populated area.

The Sierra Calderona is an area where numerous electrical storms occur and it is considered the area with the highest number of electrical discharges per square meter in Spain. It is not uncommon for wildfires to start due to lightning strikes.

Among all the peaks of the mountain range, undoubtedly the most visited is Garbí, between the municipalities of Serra, Estivella and Albalat de Taronchers from where there are beautiful panoramic views over the regions of Huerta Norte and Campo de Murviedro.

Within the Sierra Calderona Natural Park there are three important religious constructions: the Cartuja de Porta Coeli, where Fray Bonifacio Ferrer made the first translation into a Romance language (Valencian) of the Bible. The Cartuja de Vall de Cristo in the Villa de Altura, where Fray Bonifacio Ferrer spent his last days and where he is buried. And, the monastery of Sant Esperit, in Gilet.

Also noteworthy are a whole series of historical remains such as the Castle of Serra or the Iberian town of Puntal dels Llops in Olocau. In addition, on the limits of the protected area there are four historical Valencian towns that are well worth the visit. Liria, Sagunto, Villa de Altura and Segorbe).

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Flora

The dominant woodland in the area is the aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) along with formations of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). There are, however, small cork oak forests (Quercus suber) that have been developed and whose cork has been exploited historically, sometimes by expert harvesters from the neighboring Sierra de Espadán, on the other side of the Palancia valley. The cork oak forest has a characteristic undergrowth comprised of Mediterranean buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus), mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), white heather (Erica arborea), Mediterranean smilax (Smilax aspera) and honeysuckle (Lonicera implexa).

In the case of soils degraded by fire or erosion, sage-leaved rock-rose (Cistus salvifolius) and Montpellier cistus (Cistus monspeliensis) abound along with aromatic lavender (Lavandula stoecha), rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis), winter heather (Erica multiflora) and kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) .

In ravines and damper areas, oleanders (Nerium oleander), poplar (Populus nigra), willow ( Salix sp.) also are present whilst Valencian oaks (Quercus faginea) have developed in some parts of the protected area.

However, the emblematic species of the Sierra Calderona Natural Park is the Rockrose of Cartagena (Cistus heterophyllus subsp. Cartaginensis). At one time there was only one wild specimen of this species of Rockrose very similar to the grey-leaved cistus (Cistus albidus) with which it hybridizes easily. This phylogenetic proximity and the difficulty of self-fertilization have led the Valencian administration to undertake actions for their survival such as the plantations carried out in the flora micro reserves and other areas.

Flora micro-reserves:

A micro-reserve is an area of ​​less than 20 hectares in order to favor the conservation of rare botanical species, endemic or threatened and the area has several micro-reserves of flora, to protect endemic species such as the saguntine thistle (Centaurea saguntina) and the sandwort (Minuartia valentina).

  • La Muntanya del Ca v all , in the municipality of Albalat dels Tarongers. (Baldellia ranunculoides, Teesdalia coronopifolia, Centaurea saguntina, Biscutella calduchii, Cistus crispus, Salix atrocinerea).
  • El Puntal de Navarrete , in the municipality of Altura. (Centaurea pinae, Juniperus thurifera, Teucrium angustissimum).
  • El Puntal de l ‘ Ab ella in the municipality of Estivella. (Centaurea saguntina, Dianthus multiaffinis, Dianthus x caroli-paui, Centaurea antennata, Calluna vulgaris).
  • El Monte P icayo in the town of Sagunto. (Dianthus multiaffinis, Centaurea saguntina, Crassula campestris, Arenaria montana subsp. intricata, Arbutus unedo).
  • El Barranc del S e rgatillo , the Castell de Serra , Les Pe ny e s Alt e s and the Tancat de Portacoeli in the municipality of Serra. (Centaurea saguntina, Dianthus multiaffinis, Dianthus broteri subsp. valentinus, Leucanthemum gracilicaule, Thymus vulgaris subsp. aestivus, Quercus suber, Cistus populifolius, Centaurea spachi, Erica escoparia, Erica arborea, Anthyllis terniflora, Cistus heterophyllus subsp. carthaginensis, Fraxinus ornus, Helianthemum origanifolium subsp. glabratum, Quercus faginea, Sideritis angustifolia subsp. angustifolia).

Fauna

For birdwatchers, head for the Garbi look-out point where (depending on the time of year) you may see Common kestrel, northern goshawk, lesser kestrel, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle, griffon vulture, Bonelli’s eagle and common buzzard, Booted eagle, short-toed snake eagle, Montagu’s harrier, Eleonora’s falcon, Eurasian hobby, European honey buzzard, black kite, Eurasian sparrowhawk, osprey, western marsh harrier, hen harrier, peregrine falcon and red kite.

Mammals present include Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), wildcat (Felis sylvestris), fox (Vulpes vulpes ), Stone marten (Martes foina), genet (Genetta genetta), Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), rabbit (Oryctolagus cunniculus) and the elusive Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis).

The presence of various species of bats is noteworthy and the caves of the Sierra Calderona are an important refuge for species such as the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and the serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus).

Amongst the reptiles and amphibians are Iberian water frog (Rana perezi), Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra), Iberian wall lizard (Podarcis hispanica), Bedriaga’s Skink (Chalcides bedriagai), Viperine Snake (Natrix maura), Lataste’s Viper (Vipera latastei) and Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus).

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de interpretación Sierra Calderona Natural Park

Located next to the infant school on Calle Lepanto,8 in the town of Nàquera, this information centre has exhibitions covering the fauna and flora along with traditional crafts and human influences on the area.

The official website for the Sierra Calderona Natural Park can be found here: https://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-serra-calderona/centro-de-visitantes


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