Valle de Iruelas Natural Reserve

Valle de Iruelas Natural Reserve

The easternmost side of the Sierra de Gredos natural reserve contains a small, but very special area: The Valle de Iruelas. Drained by a series of mountain streams – principally, the Iruelas, a tributary of the river Alberche – its slopes are covered by a valuable forest of many diverse species. Among these, the Austrian pine stands out, with several large, 1,000-year old examples still growing in the area. The Reserve’s mountains range from the 1,950m (Cerro de la Escusa) to the banks of the Embalse del Burguillo (reservoir) at 730m. The area covers a total of 8,828ha.

The natural viewpoint of Puerto de Casillas, which has been declared a Special Bird Protection Zone (ZEPA), provides a wonderful place to view the whole Valle de Iruelas.

Near the Embalse del Burguillo reservoir there is an old village which was once home to the "resineros", or resin-gatherers, who worked in these mountains. This village has been restored and turned into a centre for rural tourism.

At the edges of the Valle de Iruelas, there is the largest colony of black vultures in the whole of continental Europe (around eighty pairs).

Birds found within the Sierra de Gredos natural reserve include an important colony of black vultures and other birds of prey such as the imperial eagle. Over 200 different species of vertebrae have been recorded here.

Clumps of Austrian pine and Pyrenean oak and birch.


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