Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park – Cordoba
Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park Cordoba – Andalusia
The Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park is located in the western sector of the province of Córdoba, belongs to the massif of Sierra Morena, named in this way for the dark colour of their materials, and mainly composed of shale.
Its mountains of soft reliefs are colonized by oak forests. Among its rich fauna we can emphasize the lynx, endangered species which has a marginal distribution, and represents a major natural enclave where you can see even well-preserved mountain landscapes in our region.
It appears mostly crossed by the hydrographical net of Bembézar River that drains much of its central area and whose flow is regulated through Bembézar reservoirs and the dam of Derivación. The eastern end is crossed by the river Guadiato while the river Retortillo does on the western boundary. Both beds are regulated by dams called Embalse del Retortillo and La Breña.
The age of the mountains creates a smooth relief due to the erosion over time, finding peaks of heights ranging between 250 m and 725 m. Thus, the greater width between the two most distant points just over 500 metres. The topography and poor soil disables these lands for cultivation, resulting mainly colonized by Mediterranean vegetation.
The most abundant plant is the oak that may be accompanied by cork and oak in the wetter areas, or by wild olive trees near the Vega del Guadalquivir. You can also observe pastures lands with grazing under the oak trees. Scrublands areas are also very common, developing in some cases on areas that have been altered by man and where you can find thickets. Other areas have been colonized by species of bushes as mastic tree, myrtle, myrtles, kermes oaks and strawberry bushes. In the southern half is located a limestone enclave where there are developed carob, palm heart and olive tree.
At the edges of the rivers we can observe poplars, alders and ash trees, just as ivy and hawthorn, species from habitats with high humidity. The waters of these courses are colonized by very interesting floating elements from a botanical point of view as Ranunculus. Lemna, Potamogeton and Zannichellia.
The fauna is very well preserved because the traditional forestry and kinetic use do not mean important alterations. The excellent plant cover has allowed maintaining a substantial and interesting community of vertebrates. Nowadays the Sierra de Hornachuelos welcomes the second colony of black vultures in Andalusia and three colonies of griffon vultures.
Several nests of golden and Bonelli’s eagles are located in the large canopy of trees in view of the shortage of space. You can also observe the limited presence, but always interesting, of the endangered black stork. Up to 30 species of mammals live in the Park highlighting the almost extinct Iberian lynx, mongoose, wolf, otter, with hunting species such as the boar and deer.
Most of the surface area is bounded to the game resource, being hunting deer and boar the main activities in the region. We can also find cattle exploitations of pigs, cattle and sheep, together with the traditional thinning of cork which is held every nine years. Floristic wealth has enabled the development of beekeeping, a traditional practice that is reaching a great height and nowadays it is opening a new market.
The gastronomic specialties correspond to the cold meats due to the cattle and hunting wealth. The famed deer sausage is typical of the town of Hornachuelos.
Roman ruins near Posadas, including tombstones and mosaics, and the Torres de Ochavo and Cabrilla of Arab construction, indicate the different settlers who have occupied the area.
The population density of this region is the lowest in the province; the scarce urban areas are very scattered and of little importance, reaching 23,455 inhabitants in the protected environment space.