Tag Archives: Murcia

Calnegre y Cabo Cope Regional Park

  • Region: Murcia (Alto Guadalentín)
  • Declared a Regional Park: 1992. “Calnegre” and “Cabo Cope” Places of Community Importance (SCI) 2000. Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA), 2001
  • Park surface area: 10,032 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Lorca, Águilas, Calabardina and Puntas de Calnegre

Points of interest

The Calnegre y Cabo Cope Regional Park (Parque Regional Calnegre y Cabo Cope) is located in the south of the Murcia Region close to the border with Andalucia. The Lomo de Bas constitutes the northern barrier of the park and the eastern flank has a coastline length of around 17 km.

The marine environment where the area surrounding the rock of Cabo Cope is also protected as the “Submerged coastal strip of the Region of Murcia” and this landscape combines Mediterranean mountains with beaches, cliffs, salt marsh area and dunes.

There seems to have been a constant battle going on here between local conservationists and developers (Murcia government and banks) with proposed plans and projects for a nuclear power station, hotel and golf courses and marinas over the years.

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In recent years loggerhead turtles have returned to the area with 2 nests discovered in 2020. However, they were located in unsuitable areas. Eggs and hatchlings are collected and are cared for at the Aquaculture Center. IMIDA Marina in San Pedro del Pinatar untill they are released into the sea.

There are around 322 species of flora including Allium melananthum, Periploca angustifolia, Salsola papillosa and Ziziphus lotus. Also noteworthy is the population of black juniper in Cabo Cope.

Spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) are present in the area in good numbers.

Information/Visitors Centers

There is no dedicated tourist office or interpretation centre for the Calnegre y Cabo Cope Regional Park but you could start at the tourist office in Lorca to find out some more about the area.

https://lorcaturismo.es/enlacosta/enlacosta.asp?id=151


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Sierra de la Pila Regional Park

  • Region: Murcia
  • Declared a Regional Park: 1992
  • Park surface area: 8,836 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Molina de Segura, Abarán y Blanca, Fortuna, Jumilla, La Garapacha, Fuente Blance, Hoya Hermosa, Peña de Zafra, and Las Casicas

Points of interest

The relatively small Sierra de la Pila Regional Park is located in the northeastern region of Murcia. Its steep reliefs are part of the limestone, dolomite and gypsum mountain ranges made up of medium-altitude massif. The park is divided into two halves separated by the Barranco del Mulo: The western part where the Caramucel summit is located at 1023 meters of altitude and the eastern part with peaks such as La Pila (1264 meters) and Los Cenajos (1200 meters ).

Like almost all the Regional Parks in Murcia, this area is included in the Natura 2000 Network and is a Site of Community Interest (SCI). A large part of the park is also a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA).

Raptors are well represented here and include Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) and Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo).

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The area has a good amount of juniper groves, pine and holm oak woodland as well as much vegetation typical of the Spanish southeast such as palm hearts, strawberry trees, black hawthorn and lentiscus. As in the Sierra Espuña, snow was also produced here and near the summits of Cenajos there are the ruins of two snow wells.

There is also a large network of forest tracks that are great for discovering the scenery and wildlife of the area. (more than 50 kilometers).

Information/Visitors Centers

The information point “Fuente la Higuera” has been closed for sometime so the best place to head for is the visitor centre in El Valle. Here you can get plenty of information about the natural parks of Murcia

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


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Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) in Murcia

Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) in Murcia are relatively small areas that for their ecological, habitat or other special reason such as the presence of specific types of wildlife are give some level of protection. Sometimes, but not always, thay fall within the limits of a natural or regional park area. This is normally due to the expansion of the natural park territory. Very often they are located in areas where human actions has either damaged in the past or continues to damage the ecosystem creating a need for an environmental protection plan.

Barrancos de Gebas

The Gebas ravines are one of the most spectacular landscapes located inside the limits the Sierra Espuña Regional Park and distributed between the municipalities of Alhama de Murcia and Librilla. It is a desert-type space, like a lunar landscape or badlands, which is formed by gullies, canyons and ravines. The area covers almost 2000 hectares.

From Alhama de Murcia head toward the tiny village of Gebas and look out for the signs directing you to the “Mirador de Gebas“, This viewpoint offers fantastic views over the badlands.

This video is excellent and the music is too! 🙂

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Cuatro Calas

The Cuatro Calas protected landscape is located in the municipality of Águilas, next to the provincial border with Almería. It is a small coastal strip of just over 2oo hectares, in which small reliefs dominated by esparto grass are combined with ravines and sandy coves and cliffs. A natural space of great geological interest and high environmental value in which the absence of frost allows unique species in Europe to thrive such as African Wolfbane (Periploca angustifolia) and Jujube (Ziziphus lotus). The salt marsh at the mouth of a ravine is dominated by Arthrocnemum glaucum, Limonium sp., Salsola verticillata and Halocnemum strobilaceum.

Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) - Cuatro Calas
Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) – Cuatro Calas

Among its fauna, the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) is present in good numbers. There are also wetland birds such as stork, steppe birds such as black wheatear and coastal birds such as little tern.

The salt marsh at the mouth of a ravine, dominated by Arthrocnemum glaucum, Limonium sp., Salsola verticillata, etc and Halocnemum strobilaceum.


Espacios abiertos e islas del Mar Menor

The open spaces and islands of the Mar Menor are a series of protected areas located in the Mar Menor and belong to the Natura 2000 Network and are also a Site of Community Importance (SCI). They extend through the three coastal municipalities of Cartagena (1038.5 ha), San Javier (119.6 ha) and Los Alcázares (28 ha).

Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) - Espacios abiertos e islas del Mar Menor
Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) – Espacios abiertos e islas del Mar Menor

This protected natural area includes the wetlands associated with the Mar Menor lagoon (La Hita, Carmolí, Lo Poyo, Marchamalo and Amoladeras), its islands (Perdiguera, Barón, Ciervo, Redonda and Sujeto) and the headlands of Carmolí , San Ginés and Sabinar.

This area has suffered some pretty huge environmental issues over the years with uncontrolled building projects and human projects etc but now seems to be experiencing an welcome respite with the help of local ecologists and the EU.

As recently as July 2020 the “recovery and protection act of the Mar Menor” expanded the protected area with the inclusion of seven new wetlands in the environment of the lagoon. (Saladar de Los Urrutias, Mouth of the Rambla de la Carrasquilla, Saladar of Punta de Las Lomas, Punta del Pudrimel, Lagunas del Cabezo Beaza, Los Alcázares Lagoon, and the Lagoons of El Algar.

Parque Regional de Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar

The Salinas y Arenales Regional Park close to San Pedro de Pinatar is a wetland with sandy areas located in the northern part of the Mar Menor.

Inside the protected area of around 1000 hectares,there is a port and some salt production is still in operation.

It is now included under the umbrella protection of the The open spaces and islands of the Mar Menor. (Espacios abiertos e islas del Mar Menor)


Humedal del Ajauque y Rambla Salada

The Ajauque and Rambla Salada wetland is a protected landscape with an area of ​​1632 hectares and belongs to the municipalities of Fortuna, Molina de Segura, Santomera and Abanilla.

This wetland collects water from the nearby hills of El Charco and Serretilla through a complex drainage network during periods of rainfall that is normally quite scarce. However, this area is well known for some pretty torrential downpours at some times during the year which is why the Santomera reservoir was built in 1966 in order to collect and store water but also to control the damage done down stream by flooding.

Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) - Humedal del Ajauque y Rambla Salada
Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) – Humedal del Ajauque y Rambla Salada

In some areas, groundwater arises, forming permanent saline pools but there is a rapid extension of the reed beds that seems to be displacing the salt marshes. Some people are calling for the reed beds to be controlled whilst others say the area should be left alone.


Sierra de las Moreras

The Sierra de las Moreras protected landscape can be found close to the municipality of Mazarrón. It is an imposing mountain range that rises up next to the Mediterranean sea and in which the Mediterranean landscape predominates with pine forests and ravines Traditional crops, cliffs and coves also present creating a habitat ideal for the the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) and birds of prey such as the Bonelli’s Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon.

This area is included within the limits of the Calnegre y Cabo Cope Regional Park ZEPA special area for birdlife.

The Cabezo del Plomo archaeological site stands out for its cultural importance and is well worth a visit. It is a fortified town dating back to 3000 years BC, from the Copper Age, and has been declared an “Asset of Cultural Interest”.

Natural monuments (Monumentos naturales) in Murcia - Las Gredas de Bolnuevo, also called Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city)
Natural monuments (Monumentos naturales) in Murcia – Las Gredas de Bolnuevo, also called Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city)

Las Gredas de Bolnuevo, also called Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city) are eroded sandstone formations along the beach of Bolnuevo.

Read more here about The Calnegre y Cabo Cope Regional Park (Parque Regional Calnegre y Cabo Cope) and the Gredas de Bolnuevo (Ciudad Encantada)


Islas e islotes del litoral mediterráneo

The Natural Area Islands and islets of the Mediterranean coast is made up of 18 islands and islets along the coast of Murcia with the most well known being:

  • La Grosa Island with the island of Farallon, the largest of all is of volcanic origin and located opposite La Manga del Mar Menor in San Javier
  • Las Islas Hormigas, Cabo de Palos in Cartagena
  • The islet of Escombreras in front of the Port of Cartagena
  • The Isla de las Palomas in front of Mount Roldán in Cartagena
  • Isla Plana in Cartagena
  • Cueva Lobos in Mazarrón
  • Mazarrón Island .
  • Isla del Fraile in Águilas
Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) - Islas e islotes del litoral mediterráneo
Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) – Islas e islotes del litoral mediterráneo

All the islands are protected with the category of natural park status and,

are within the Natura 2000 Network declared as sites of community importance (SCI ) and some are also Special protection for birdlife (ZEPA)

See also the protected marine areas of Reserva marina de Cabo de Palos e Islas Hormigas and the Cabo Tiñoso marine reserve


Protected landscapes (Paisajes protegidos) in Murcia

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Nature reserves in Murcia (reserva natural)

There is only one In the region but I am sure that more nature reserves in Murcia (reserva natural) will be created over the coming years. I will add them to this information page when they are announced or if anyone lets me know about one.

Sotos y Bosques de Ribera de Cañaverosa

The Sotos y Bosques de Ribera de Cañaverosa on the river Segura close to the towns of Moratella and Calasparra covers an area of around 12 km in length and around 100 metres width of each river bank. (225 hectares approx). It is a site of community importance and part of the European Natura 2000 network.

The river here makes several meanders and has created some impressive cliffs of up to 80 metres in height. The forest alongside the riverbanks acts as an important corridor habitat and wildlife here is quite abundant. look out for otter and polecat, liitle bittern, grey heron and kingfisher. Among reptiles and amphibians there are good numbers of viperine snakes, mediterranean pond terrapin, Iberian spiny toad and the natterjack toad.

Nature reserves in Murcia
Nature reserves in Murcia

This is also an important refuge for the white clawed cray fish that has suffered greatly over the last few decades due to the introduction of other invasive species.

Head for Las Lomas de la Virgen lookout point (with your binoculars) where there are great views of the rice fields of Calasparra.

Sanctuary of Ntra. Srs de la Esperanza

The sanctuary of Ntra. Sra de la Esperanza is an important enclave for religious worship concentrating on the adoration of the Virgin Mary. It is situated in a cave carved into the rock 6 km from the town of Calasparra.

Two statues of Our Lady of Hope known as La Pequeñica (the Tiny One) and La Grande (the Big One) are kept in this sanctuary. According to legend, the small statue was found by a shepherd who sheltered his cattle in this cave next to the river Segura. People from the village tried to move the statue to the town of Calasparra but, it was too heavy and so they interpreted this as the will of the divine virgin who prefered to be left and worshipped in the cave. Information about the discovery of the bigger statue of La Virgen de la Esperanza remains unknown but In the year 1786, they were already both venerated.

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