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Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierra de la Utrera

Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierra de la Utrera – Casares

The Sierra de la Utrera is located in the Andalusian municipality of Casares.

Also known as the Canchos de la Utrera or El Castillón, the Sierra de la Utrera is one of the most unusual landmarks in the extreme west of the province of Malaga, bordering on the rugged landscape of the Serranía de Ronda and the gentle coastal plains which stretch towards Gibraltar.

The terrain is made up of small but fascinating karstic formations, the southerm most of their kind in Europe, crossed by three enclosed valleys running parallel to the coast which are known as canutos. Thes valleys, with their vertical sides, apart from creating beautiful scenery, are a favourite nesting area for numerous protected bird species including Bonelli´s eagles and Egyptian vultures.

The area of karst is flanked on the east by the Albarrán stream or river Manilva which forms an important ecological corridor and adds considerably to the natural value and biodiversity of the area. Its source lies in the Sierra Crestellina Nature Area and it flows towards the coast between the municipal areas of Casares and Manilva just a few kilometres from the Sierra de Utrera.

Apart from the intrinsit natural beauty of the karst landscape of the Sierra, it is also important to highlight the wealth of cultural history to be found in this corner of the municipality of Casares. Of particular note is the rich paleontological heritage with findings of considerable numbers of fossils covering the periods from the Jurassic to the Pliocene.

The area also remains showeing human habitation in the area since the dawn of history, which can be seen by the numerous cave dwellings, most notably the Gran Duque, wich goes back to the Neolithic period. Other sites include: the ruins of the medeval settlement of Villavieja (the origins of which go back to the Roman times, and probably the Iberian Period); the water mills for grinding grain on the Arroyo del Albarran which date back tot he Moorish period; and the most well known of all, the Baños de la Hedionda baths, whose sulphurous waters have been enjoyed by man since time immemorial, and which have come to be recognised as a cultural site of great significance.

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