Tag Archives: Regional Parks in 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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Calblanque Monte de las Cenizas and Peña del Águila Regional Park

  • Region: Murcia (Campo de Cartagena)
  • Declared a Regional Park: 1992
  • Park surface area: 2453 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Cartagena and La Unión

Points of interest

The Calblanque Monte de las Cenizas and Peña del Águila Regional Park (Parque Regional Calblanque, Monte de las Cenizas y Peña del Águila) is located near the Mar Menor and Cabo de Palos and almost the entire area belongs to the municipality of Cartagena.

The protected area presents a great ecological and environmental diversity with systems of dunes, sandy areas, salt marshes, salt ponds, coves. The Humedal de las Salinas de Rasall is located in the southern part of the lagoon.

Its declaration as a Biosphere Reserve was proposed by Unesco in 2007 but this was sadly denied due to the interests and industrial activities of the municipality of Cartagena and La Unión. The planned construction of the Gorguel container port, the expansion of industrial activities in Cartagena, the restructuring project of Portman Bay and the transformation of the stormwater spillway in Cala Reona into an underwater sewage outfall were totally incompatible with the declaration of Calblanque as a Biosphere Reserve.

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Flora

This regional park contains a great diversity of botanical species in its different ecosystems. The endemisms and Ibero-Africanisms are particularly important, among which the botanical jewel of the park stands out, the Cartagena cypress (Tetraclinis articulata), an evergreen coniferous trees in the cypress family. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraclinis. Also worthy of a mention is the Jara de Cartagena (Cistus heterophyllus subsp.carthaginensis).

Dwarf fan palm is well adapted to the harsh demands. Wild olive trees, lentisc and kermes oaks are common vegetation in the scrub zones.Some of the highly specialized plants are; Verbascum charidemi, Teucrium charidemi, Androcymbium europaeum, Helianthemum alypoides, Linaria nigricans, Sideritis osteoxylla and Ulex canescens. Saltwort, common reeds and glasswort grow in sandy, saline areas.

Fauna

Grey and purple heron, cranes, storks, black-winged stilts, oystercatchers and avocets can all be observed as well as flamingos. Sea birds include yellow-legged gulls, razorbills, shags, terns, cory’s and balearic shearwaters.

Calblanque, Monte de las Cenizas and Peña del Águila Regional Park - Salinas are excellent places for bird watching
Calblanque, Monte de las Cenizas and Peña del Águila Regional Park – Salinas are excellent places for bird watching

Reptiles include include ocellated lizards (Timon lepidus ibericus), grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and Lataste’s viper (Vipera latasti).

The main mammals represented are fox, badger, stone martin and rabbit

Top places to visit in the Calblanque, Monte de las Cenizas and Peña del Águila Regional Park

For those interested in photography, botany, birdwatching and general nature landscapes these are the places that should be visited in the area.

  • Cala de los Déntoles (also locally known as Cala Dorada)
  • Peña del águila (hill)
  • Cala Arturo
  • Cala del Barco
  • Cabezo de la Fuente
  • Cabezo del Horno
  • Cala Magre
  • Negrete Beach
  • Las Cañas Beach
  • Parreño Beach
  • Punta Negra
  • Punta Espada

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Visitantes “Las Cobaticas”

The Visitor Center “Las Cobaticas” can be found close to the village of Las Cobaticas (Paraje las Cobaticas, s/n — 30385 Cobaticas. Los Belones, Cartagena).

This information centre has a good selection of guides and maps and knowledgable staff that can help you get the best out of a visit to the area. The center also has an Interpretation room where you can learn about natural and cultural values, especially fauna and flora through panels, models, interactive elements and photographs. There are also temporary exhibitions related to the regional park and other protected areas of Murcia province.


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Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park

  • Region: Murcia
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1979. Regional Park 1992. Also listed as a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) and a Site of Community Importance (SCI).
  • Park surface area: 17,410 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Murcia, Fuente Álamo de Murcia, Alhama de Murcia, Sangonera la Verde, El Palmar, La Alberca, Beniaján, Corvera, Gea,Truyols and Sucina.

Points of interest

Due to its proximity to Murcia, the Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park (Parque Regional Carrascoy y El Valle) constitutes the main “green lung” of the capital and its entire metropolitan area and It is made up of the extensive chain of mountains that close the valley of the Segura river and a part of the Guadalentín valley to the south.

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The main peaks and mountain passes in El Valle y Carrascoy Regional Park

  • Sierra de Carrascoy, the largest and highest of the complex at 1065 meters.
  • Sierra del Puerto, crowned at 532 meters by the Moorish castle of La Asomada that dominates the mountain pass of of La Cadena
  • Cresta del Gallo owes its name to the set of peaks whose shape resembles those of a rooster’s crest. The summit rises to around 500 meters
  • El Relojero at 603 meters is called El Valle by the locals and is the locationof a traditional recreational area nestled in one of the valleys of the mountains.
  • Miravete at 425 meters is a continuation of the Sierra de la Cresta del Gallo
  • Columbares, stands alone at the eastern end of the protected area at 646 meters.
  • Sierra Altaona is the driest and most rugged of those that make up the park and stands out for its eroded crags and ravines

Flora

A varied landscape with plantations of Aleppo pines from the 1940’s and some areas of Holm oak contrasting with the more sparse vegetation of heath, scrub, maquis and garrigue covering. There are also lesser areas of dry grassland and steppe that carry plants that are well adapted to coping on poor soils with long spells of drought.

With the pines and forming the low scrub is European fan palm, Lentisc, Kermes oak, Rhamnus, Osyris (Osyris quadrapartita) with climbers Mediterranean honeysuckle (Lonicera implexa) and Smilax (Smilax aspera).

On the El Majal Blanco estate (owned by the Murcia City Council) located in the center of Sierras del Puerto there is a small formation of large cork oaks (Quercus suber) (over 100 years old) preserved among the holm oak forest (Quercus ilex).

The arid areas have sparse vegetation of Esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), yellow flowered Fumana (Fumana ericoides) summer-deciduous shrub Anthyllis cytisoides and Thyme (Thymus hiemalis).

Damp areas are home to Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) and Blue throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum). Water courses may have vegetation including Oleander (Nerium oleander), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Reeds (Phragmites australis) and Elm (Ulmus minor).

Endemic to the south west region of Spain is the yellow flowered Centaurea saxicola and Lafuentea rotundifolia which is an aromatic plant, the only member of the genus Lafuentea (Scrophulariaceae) it grows in calcareous and dolomitic rock crevices and under rock ledges. Sedum sediforme can be found growing in similar areas.

Soils rich in the mineral gypsum contain Teucrium libanitis and Santolina viscosa.

Fauna

Amongst the reptiles and amphibians you may see are la Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanica), Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus), Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus), Iberian spiny toad (Bufo spinosus) and Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). Mediterranean terrapin ( Mauremys leprosa) can be observed sunbathing on rocks at the waters edge.

Two birds for which the park obtained the ZEPA registration are the Eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and the Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Other raptors include Booted eagle (Aquila pennata), Common buzzard (Buteo buteo), Short Toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) and Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

A greater sample of the birdlife seen includes Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), Stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), Crested Lark (Galerida cristata), Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava), Wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus), Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), Great tit (Parus major), Crested tit (Parus cristatus), Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Green woodpecker (Picus viridis) and Woodlark (Lullula arborea).

Mammals within the park include Fox, Wild cat, Badger, Wild boar, Squirrel, Rabbit, and seven species of bats.

Information/Visitors Centers

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“

The “El Valle” Visitor and Management Center houses rooms for information, communication and dissemination of the natural and cultural values ​​of the El Valle and Carrascoy Regional Park, as well as technical management offices and offices for the Park’s Forest Agents.

There are exhibitions covering the main values of the park, its flora, fauna and geology. There are also exhibits of marine fossils discovered in the area.

Information regarding the natural, cultural and historical values ​​of the Park, trails, recreational areas and other points of interest. The Center has an interpretation room dedicated exclusively to the values ​​of the Carrascoy y El Valle Regional Park and In addition other exhibitions with different themes are exhibited. There is also a projection room in which an audiovisual divided into 3 parts is reproduced showing examples of the fauna, flora and cultural history of the area.

Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre El Valle (next to the visitor centre)

The CRFS Recovery Area, in operation since 1984, performs various works related to the conservation and recovery of protected species of wild fauna in the region of Murcia. These include the Program for the Recovery of Protected Wild Fauna Species .

Every year more than 2,500 animals are cared for (mainly birds but also reptiles, mammals and amphibians). Of these, around 40% are rehabilitated and returned to their natural environment, while some of those who do not manage to fully recover are relocated to the environmental education area.

There is also a Botanical Garden “Arboretum” showcasing local and worldwide plantlife.


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