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Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierra de Castril Natural Park Granada

Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierra de Castril Natural Park Granada

The Natural Park of Sierra de Castril, located to the west of the north-eastern branch of Granada, is part of the Eastern Betic Cordillera system. It covers 12,696 hectares and is located entirely in the municipality of Castril, with an estimated population of 3,150 inhabitants.

The limestone terrain and the abundant rainfall on the summits allow you to enjoy a rich wetland ecosystem with abundant waterfalls and caves, such as the one of San Fernando, which has the largest galleries in length and depth of Granada.

This Nature Park gives us the opportunity to stroll through a landscape of outstanding relief and unique landscape.

The main feature of this natural area is the spectacular relief, the result of the limestone soil, the abundant rainfall on the peaks and the action of running water. There are plenty of simas, caves and galleries. In Sierra Seca we can observe the Cueva del Muerto, where you can see colourful stalactites and stalagmites, and the Cueva de Don Fernando, the most depth and length in Granada, with numerous galleries and incomparable beauty, like the Sala de Colada.

This Natural Park is included in the municipality of Castril, to the north of the province of Granada. It is crossed from north to south by the river with the same name, Castril River, in whose waters live otters and the brown trout. There are numerous springs such as the one of Juan Ruiz, Tubos, La Magdalena or Lézar.

In the north of the Sierra Seca is located a small closed basin in which a great part of the year is formed a small lake from the rainwater and defrosting, with certain interest in hosting a large natural grassland botanical diversity.

In the highest peaks stand out the black pine vegetation. This tree, which can reaches 40 metres tall, resists very good the low temperatures and cold winter winds. Around it we can find, at low height above the ground, bushes and creeping junipers and other species of cushioning or rounded appearance. The oak, typical Mediterranean specie is also present but its forests have been depleted by strong human pressure. Oaks and maple trees, are another trees that, although rare in Andalusia, can be found in these mountains, and in the headwaters of the Barrancos de Túnez and Magdalena. All these natural vegetation formations have sometimes been displaced by pine species from various stocking: Aleppo, Corsican, wildlife, etc.

The Sierra de Castril has a varied fauna, from butterflies in the Iberian Peninsula to large hoofed mammals such as the ibex. The griffon vulture, peregrine falcon and the vulture nests in the limestone walls, while in the forests of oaks and pines do other raptors as golden eagles or short-toed.

Rivers and river groves also host to numerous species from riparian habitats: herons, wagtails, robins, wrens, etc..

From the mountain range is used, of course, the Aleppo pine wood that is intended to packaging and, in singular events, to the construction, thanks to the slender trees that weigh gain in these areas. The wood that provide the dense poplars that fringe the banks of the river in its broadest woods is used in cajerío, masonry and light lathe, and also sustained a small craft made of wooden utensils. Very popular in the region is the “honey of the mountains” or “honey from Cebas” which is made from the pollen of the rosemary, jaguarzo, lavender, thyme and other species native from the Mediterranean path of rosemary.

The oil and olive dressing with old roots in the region as well as had the utensils of esparto, tizneros, textile, barjas, pleitas and all sorts of containers, used for the most varied applications in the field and home, and neighbours who collected the beams of the esparto grass. Even we can find antecedents of papermaking fibres from this species and cereal straw.

Among the local cuisine, simple and lacking of artifice, together with the lamb chops and various dishes with trout as its main component, travellers passing through these lands must-try as the sausage stuffing, sausage or egg, and extensive bakery (mackerel cakes, donuts wine, florets, butter cakes, …).

The Arabic ceramic tile industry was established in Castril to attend the demand of the region and is nowadays, after an interruption of some years, when seeking with renewed encouragement to the forces of construction throughout the region and a taste for architecture and traditional style.

The same thing occurs with the glass industry, which lasted from its inception around 1490 until the end of last century, after the production of hundreds of thousands of pieces, small bottles, bottles and jugs of green colour and amazing lightness.

In addition to its mountain range and its river, you have to visit the town of Castril. Perched on the side of its rock, this is a town of steep streets and crowded houses where the simple flavour of the mountain is its most noble trademark.

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