Tour B. The Biodiversity of The Montaña Palentina
- 8 days Tour, discovering the natural history of one Spanish region, in the north.
- ACOMODATION: 7 nights staying at “El Mayorazgo”
- DATES: May - June - July - September - first two weeks October
Fortunately, there are still some places in Spain where stress, urban crowding and environmental degradation have not appeared. A Landscape where you can enjoy the feeling of being alone in a setting of incomparable biodiversity. The Montaña Palentina has all these attractions and we hope that you enjoy it! This trip is designed for all those wishing to discover all that the region offers about birds, plants, butterflies, geology, mammals, popular culture, etc. in a distinctive way.
During the days of discovering the Montaña Palentina, we'll have the opportunity to cross hidden valleys, to know unique forests, and visit some of the most picturesque villages. The Montaña Palentina is located between two biogeographical regions, the Mediterranean and the Euro-Siberian. Thanks to the long isolation of the area and its exceptional geology a different biota from the rest of the Iberian Peninsula is found here.
After arrival at Santander airport, about an hour’s travel brings us to El Mayorazgo, a group of traditional houses, situated in the small town of Cordovilla de Aguilar, located in a beautiful place surrounded by forests of oak, and the south side of the mountains of Palencia. Each day’s excursión will start from here. The first day, the tour will focus on discovering the surroundings of Cordovilla de Aguilar, through forests of oak, scrub and cereal crops, see and enjoy birds, plants and butterflies present there. Next day’s we‘ll travel around the different corners of the Natural Park, ancient oak forests, where bear is still alive and most interesting forest birds such as the middle spotted woodpecker, common treecreeper, crested tit , large beech forests on the slopes of the mountains, with the presence of black woodpeacker are found.The Mid-mountain allows us to enjoy a very interesting biodiverse range of communities.
A variety of landscapes with different geology, one of the most interesting thing is the large number of plants found here - 2240 over the year - many of them endemic: Echium cantabricum; Artemisia cantábrica; Androsace cantábrica; Viola palentina, etc. Several of these valleys are protected as reserve sites of threatened flora. As a consequence of this wide range of plants there are rich populations of butterflies, Erebia Palarica, Boloria pales, Erebia lefebvrei. The various tours through these mountains and valleys also give us the opportunity to visit a number of well-preserved picturesque villages. We will visit the special protection area for birds in “Tierra de Campos” on the Castilian-Leonese plateau on one of the days. Only 1h from Montaña Palentina, this outing takes us to a completely different landscape with great populations of steppe birds: calandra lark; greater short-toed lark; crested lark; and the highest concentration of great bustards on the Iberian Peninsula. Another interesting place for visit is the Laguna de la Nava and Boada, these two wetlands meet a rich and diverse community of water birds and raptors: marsh harrier, grey heron, little grebe, gull-billed tern. Definitely, one must visit the Geological reserve of “Las Loras”; it is also a special protected area for birds. It is an interesting landscape with limestone cliffs, where a 218 million year stratigraphy reveals a part of the history of the Earth. A notable presence, cliff-nesting birds and raptors breed and nest in this area: griffon vulture, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, black kite, hen harrier, rufous-tailed rock thrush, red-billed chough.
Mid-day meals will be picnics, enjoying the delicious and varied local cuisine: products from the orchard, cold meal typical of Castile-Leon, pates, cheeses and, of course, regional red and white wines. Dinners will be in el Mayorazgo. The most traditional menus from Montaña Palentina, cooked by Rosa, that we’ll enjoy it in a cheerful atmosphere: legumes, lamb of Tierra de Campos, fish from the nearby Bay of Biscay, meats from Montaña Palentina, vegetable are some of the ingredients used in preparing the various menus.All trips will be made in 4x4 vehicles, which will permit access to the most interesting and spectacular restricted areas of the Natural Park, avoiding long journeys on foot.