Here we leave a little information about our Guadiaro Valley and its impressive and spectacular nature.
Past Ronda, the Guadiaro is formed at the expense of two streams: Guadalevín and Guadalcovacín. Other important contributions are received from its tributaries Guadares River, Genal River and Hozgarganta.
Along its route this river gives rise to striking and spectacular places such as the Tajo de Ronda, Cueva del Gato, the birth of the Cascajales in Benaoján, the Angosturas of Jimera de Libar, the Cañón de las Buitreras, Las Vegas of the Campo de Gibraltar, or its mouth in the Mediterranean.
Administratively belongs to the Andalusian Mediterranean Basin and is the owne that has the most water. This fact, together with a high and rugged basin make it possible for its waters to become and energy source.
On the Guadiaro River banks are three important hydroelectric power stations: Ronda, Buitreras at the Estación de Gaucín and El Corchado in San Pablo de Buceite.
Also in the municipality of Cortes de la Frontera is the Buitreras Dam and the transfer Guadiaro – Majaceite.
The Guadiaro River treasures and impressive geological and natural wealth. Its banks border protected areas such as the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, the Alcornocales Natural Park and the Natural Monument of the Buitreras.
Also in their proximities we find spectacular natural monuments: Cueva de la Pileta, Cueva del Gato or Cueva del Hundidero.
The Guadiaro River, as it passes through the Serranía de Ronda, bathes the land of several municipalities, namely Ronda, Arriate, Benaoján, Montejaque, Jimera de Libar, Cortes de la Frontera, Algatocín, Benalauría, Benarrabá and Gaucín.
More about the Guadiaro Valley
The man has been the last to reach the valley although he has demonstrated a great capacity for adaptation to the environment as well as sufficient intelligence to transform it to his advantage. He has been able to find water in the valley to irrigate crops, pastures to feed livestock, materials to build houses, firewood to warm up and a bening climate to be at home. Not in vain, the Guadiaro Valley has sheltered man, uninterrupted from the Upper Paleolithic (15000 years a go) to the present day, being the Cueva de la Pileta a magnificent example of the relationship between the first settlers of the valley and its environment.
The valley, as a natural passage from the Campo de Gibraltar to the north, has witnessed the evolution of history, the passing of civilizations, the emergence of trade and the evolution of transport; from the old stone roads to modern roads and railways. The valley has always been there, unperturbed, contemplating all the evolution in the last breath of the planet.
The botton of the valley is the most fertile part, where the orchards and the typical vegetation of riverside are formed by poplars, willows, climbers and oleanders. On the slopes we find open forests of holm oaks, accompanied by peonies with a thicket of coscoja, brooms and genisteas.
At the top, below the cliffs we find a very degraded grassland with clumps and thyme.
The valley began to form at the end of the Secondary Age – Cretaceous and early Tertiary as a consequence of the Alpine Orogeny that folded the sediments of an old basin. The result is a succession of large parallel folds known as Bética ridges. The Guadiaro Valley is the result of thouse folds that the passage of time and the tireless work of the river over 60 million years have finished modeling until giving it the present form.
Guadiaro River by San Pablo de Buceite 18/03/2018
Basin of the Guadiaro River / Environments
KARSTS AND LIMESTONE SIERRAS
Karstic areas and mountains of limestone are mostly distributed in the southern half of the basin of the Guadiaro River. This environment is characterized by the presence of bare rocks and a usually scarce plant cover, which is caused by the lack of soil. The geology of these lands, composed by limestone, dolomite rocks and marls, favours the presence of a particular and characteristic geomorphology, with frequent cliffs, fissures, summits, screes, chasms and caves, and also grikes, dolinas, pipes and pinnacles. The fauna and flora associated with these formations is highly diverse. Among the most representative plant species, there are holm oaks, maples, Spanish silver spruces and hawthorns. Relevant animal species are the Golden Eagle, the Bonelli´s Eagle, the Blue Rock Thrush, the Black wheatear and the Iberian wild goat.
MEDITERRANEAN FORESTS AND SCRUB
Mediterranean forests and scrubs spread over most of the Guadiaro Basin, principally over the central and western areas. These formations are well preserved landscapes where natural vegetation prevails. The most emblematic forest type in the basin is constituted by cork oaks. In fact, it forms part of the most extensive cork oak forest currently existing in the Iberian Peninsula. There are other environmentally relevant plant species as well, like Pyrenean oaks, Algerian oaks, heathers, rockroses, myrtles and ferns, among others. The fauna associated with the forests of Guadiaro Basin is also highly diverse. Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, European Green Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and roe deer are among the most characteristic and emblematic species.
RIVERSIDES AND GALLERY FORESTS
The basin of the Guadiario River is dominated by a rough relief, which favours the presence of highly powerful and torrential flows in the upper and middle courses of rivers and streams. As a consequence of farming, vegetation in most riversides of the basin is altered along some stretches, mainly coinciding with areas of moderate relief on the Ronda plateau and the lowlands. Notwithstanding this, there are many riversides on which vegetation is well preserved. There, it is represented by typical gallery forest species: willows, ashes, black alders and English elms. It is also worth mentioning the presence of a particular type of gallery forest appearing in the narrowest valleys of Guadiaro Basin, known as “canutos” and more technically named “laurissilva”, or laurel forests. There, vegetation is represented by species like common rhododendrons, “avellanillos” (Lomatia dentate), laurels, hollies and different ferns.
Human environments are represented in the basin of the Guadiaro River by villages and farmlands. With the exception of Ronda and the urban areas surrounding the river mouth, centers of population in the basin are small villages. Farmlands are mainly distributed over the northernmost and the southernmost areas of the basin, the former ones on the Ronda plateau, and the latter ones on the lowlands. Agriculture is principally represented by rain-fed woody and arable crops. The most abundant cultivated species are olives trees, citrus trees and cereals. Parcels are frequently mixed with the patches of natural vegetation. This increases landscape heterogeneity and favours the presence of a diverse animal community, including the European Turtle Dove, the Barn Swallow, the Barn Owl, the Little Owl and the Northern Lapwing, among others.
GUADIARO RIVER MOUTH
As many coastal wetlands, this natural area shows a high chromatic diversity and a huge landscape wealth as a consequence of the confluence of fresh and sea-water, together with the combination of riparian and marsh vegetation with the emerged lands of the estuary. Nevertheless, the main value of the river mouth is the high bid diversity. The Guadiaro river mouth is small, approximately 27 Ha, but it is located in the middle of one of the most important migratory routes for birds between Africa and Europe. This explains the great ornithological interest of this wetland, which is important as stopover area and wintering site. Up to 139 different bird species, belonging to diverse groups that include herons, ducks, raptors, waders and gulls, among others, have been quantified.