Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park – Cordoba
Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park Cordoba
Sierra of Cardeña & Montoro Natural Park
Cardeña y Montoro
At the end of the region of the Pedroches, in the north-eastern province of Córdoba, is located the Natural Park of Cardeña & Montoro. It is an area with hilly relief and gentle slopes of Sierra Morena central mountain range with a great antiquity. Geomorphological formation manifests in batholith rounded blocks of granite 1 metre in diameter, known as “balls.” In front of this landscape the River Yeguas has excavated in its passing a steep valley of great beauty, where we find the steepest slopes in the space. It will develop rich forests that host an interesting fauna among which we can mention the lynx, the wolf and the otter.
A forest of Pyrenean oak is another attraction. For their conservation status is considered one of the best places of this province, with great botanical interest and spectacular beauty.
The region of Los Pedroches, in the central eastern area of Sierra Morena, corresponds to medium-height mountains, whose peaks decrease its altitude from north to south. The eastern boundary of the area is traversed by the Río Yeguas that forms in its passage a steep valley with abrupt walls.
The relief that has in the last sections of the channels produces favorable circumstances for the construction of wetlands existing in the area two dams located in the Río de las Yeguas and in the stream called Martín Gonzalo.
The typical vegetation of the Mediterranean area consists of an oak forest in some parts mixed with olive trees, oaks and cork in lesser extent. The scrub occupies areas of high density in some places, consisting of arbutus, mastic, kermes oaks, rock roses and heathers. The main point of interest in the area is the grove of Pyrenean oak, located on a plateau near Cardeña to 700 metres altitude. It is characterized as one of the most humid of the saw. Pyrenean oak is observed that together with a rich understory thickets and lavenders. In the southern area there have been carried out reforestation of maritime pine and nut pine.
The main channels of the Park are the Ríos Yeguas an Arenoso, running through the space in western and eastern boundaries respectively, and the streams Corcome and Martín Gonzalo that flow into the Guadalquivir. The woodland developed on the edges of the channels is another botanical treasure of this park. Riparian species that we can observe forming the grove are oleanders, blackberries, ash woods, etc.
Among the aquatic communities, that is, those that live in water, we can mention in the River de las Yeguas aquatic insects own of clean and well oxygenated waters, as well as barbels, breams, gambusias … On the banks of streams live otters, dippers, kingfishers and the Spanish pond turtle to mention the most important ones.
The animal community that lives in the forest is the richest and most varied, we can find valued pieces in big game such as deer, fallow deer and wild boar, to another series of mammals characteristic of the Mediterranean area but with a restricted distribution as the wild cat, fox, wolf, badger … In terms of birds we have to emphasize the goshawk, sparrowhawk, booted eagle, short-toed eagle, owl, tawny owl … likewise there is the lynx that finds here one of its last refuges.
In the bush we can find rabbits, foxes, mongooses, genet, the kestrel, the lesser kestrel, long-tailed lizard, etc.
In the wastelands and pastures commonly are located species by their feeding but nest elsewhere, as in the case of the hare, common vole, marsh harrier, kestrel, etc.
The region of the Pedroches, settled by man since the very early history, is rich in archaeological remains from the Neolithic period as well as the Iberians, Romans and Arabs. We can therefore say that the development of this park is very linked to the towns that have inhabited and influenced the natural vegetation.
The oak trees that constitute the rangelands have been prized since ancient times, and have found cited in Arabic writings of the quality of the acorns of these specimens. Over the centuries XIII, XIV and XV occur indiscriminate felling and burning of some importance because of battles down in the area during the Reconquest between Moors and Christians. During this time many farmers and ranchers take refuge in the city and leave their lands.
The current land uses are the cultivation of grain, mainly barley, and livestock. The most important are sheep, pigs, cattle, and to a lesser extent, goats and horses. Is also developed the beekeeping, producing a highly appreciated honey by the inhabitants of the region.
In Montoro there were found Iberian remains that discuss the supposedly Greek origin of this villa. Numerous Roman remains show the importance that achieved during this period; among them are several tombs outside the walls that indicate the place of burials. We have also found a statue of Constantine. The castles of La Mota y Julia that served as military bases indicate the strategic importance of this town.
In Montoro is noticeable the craft, involving the manually spinning of hemp and ornamental ironwork.
Cardeña, the most recent segregated town of Montoro during the decade of the thirties, kept the church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, neo-baroque style. The dance of “alzatacón” is one of the most popular cultural events.