The Natural Park ‘Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche’
In the most western area of Sierra Morena, to the north of the pro-vince of Huelva is a group of medium-height mountain ranges which make up the Natural Park Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche, a landscape which has been respectfully modelled by its inhabitants for centuries.
Most of the green landscape is made up of large forests of holm oaks, cork oaks and Portuguese oaks which are the main vegetation of the meadows along with chestnut trees, strawberry trees, mastic bushes, rosemary bushes and other species. With an area of 186,827 hectares spread out along its 28 towns, this spot re-presents the second largest protected area in Andalusia. However, the Mountain Region covers a larger area than that of the Natural Park itself. Altogether there are some 300,775 hectares of land including 29 towns.
The high rate of rainfall registered means there is an extensive river system which flows into the basins of the Guadalquivir, the Guadiana and the Odiel rivers. Because of this rainfall and an ideal climate (with mild temperatures in summer and high rainfalls in autumn and winter), lush species like the chestnut tree can grow. The more than 5,000 hectares in the area joining Aracena and Cortegana offer some of the best landscape views in Andalusia with the coming of autumn.
This natural landscape has other species which are typical in the Mediterranean hills, giving shape to the meadows. It is a system in which humans and the environment live together in harmony with a relationship of mutual respect, proving that coexistence and sustainability are possible.
Nowadays the meadowlands offer a wide range of possibilities for all their inhabitants. Because of the environmental resources it treasures, bees find their nectar here to make delicious honey. Farmers dispose of lands which are suitable for non-irrigated crops. The Iberian pig finds its main food, the acorn. The forest provides wood which is turned into vegetable charcoal and the cork oak gives us valuable cork from the bark covering its trunk.
The conservation and development promoted by this Natural Park for generations has been compensated with a large number of distinctions and awards. Since 2004 it follows a Sustainable Development Plan, a proposal by the regional Andalusian government which makes the park a leader in sustainable initiatives. It has also received the ISO 14001 certificate, a European quality standard that certifies the environmental management standard of the Park.
The Natural Park of Aracena and the Aroche Peaks also holds the European Card for Sustainable Tourism, a voluntary instrument for people involved in the tourist development to ensure the application of the principles of sustainable tourism through a series of actions.
Perhaps the most important distinction to be awarded to the park is the declaration of Biosphere Reserve of the Meadowlands of Sierra Morena by the UNESCO in 2002.
The village of La Nava has around 350 inhabitants and is located in the heart of the Sierra of Aracena, within the Natural Park of “Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche”, northwest of the province of Huelva .
The village is looking down the valley of the Múrtiga River , that is the source of its name and surrounded by orchards and hills of olive trees and Holm oaks.
MONUMENTS: Iglesia de Santa María de Gracia (s. XVI) y Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Virtudes.
FESTIVITIES: Romería de la Virgen de las Virtudes (May), Fiesta del Melocotón (August) y Fiestas de la Virgen de las Virtudes (August)
- Múrtiga River: Tributary of the Guadiana River begins to flow in Fuenteheridos (in the fountain “Doce Caños”) and goes across the villages of Galaroza, La Nava and Encinasola. Spots in La Nava : Medieval Bridge, “Las Pasaeras” Recreation Area, Iron Bridge , etc.
- Hermitage of Our Lady of Virtues, 5 min
- Grotto of “Las Maravillas” in Aracena, 20 min
- Mudéjar Mosque in Almonaster la Real , 15 min
- Templars Route, south of Badajoz , 30 min
- Tentudía Monastery in the village of Calera de León , 40 min
- Caves in the village of Fuentes de León , 40 min.
- Celtic village and Capote Site in Higuera la Real , Badajoz 25 min
- Ornithological routes in the Natural Park of “Sierra Suroeste” in Badajoz
- Ham Route (Ruta del Jamón). Villages of Jabugo-Cumbres Mayores-Higuera la Real
- Trails routes