Category Archives: Sierra de Grazalema

A visit to the botanic garden in the village of El Bosque.

Regular visits to the Botanic Garden in El Bosque village allow us to see the local wild plants as they change through the seasons.

Mid June is the best time to see some of the parks endemics in full flower. Phlomis x margaritae is a hybrid shrub in the Sage family that occurs naturally on a mountain named Margarita – hence the plant name. This is placed in the “rupicola” section (rock gardens) at the highest point of the meandering pathways. It is a plant endemic to the Sierra de Grazalema park area. This meaning that it is not found in the wild anywhere else in the world.

In the same rock gardens and in full flower at this time of year are the orange blooms of the cliff dwelling Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum) which although it was thought that this plant was exclusive to this mountain range it has also been recorded in Morocco.

The delicate lemon flowers of (Sideritis incana subsp occidentalis) are easily overlooked on a mountain side and this again is only from the Grazalema area.

The sky was a beautiful deep blue and I love the combination of dark green trees and fresh white clouds against such a colour. My progress around the gardens was slow as there is so much to see and photograph at this time of year. Even seed pods from plants that flowered earlier are very photogenic.

The shaded areas beneath the mature trees on visits to the Botanic Garden in El Bosque village are always welcome at this time of year!

On my first visits here I used to write the plant names that I wanted to learn onto a note pad, now I cheat and take a photo of the sign along with the plant pictures – so much quicker!


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45 days of lockdown in the Sierra de Grazalema

So, here we are at day 45 of quarantine lockdown in the Sierra de Grazalema, Spain. To be honest, for the family and I, it really isn’t too bad as we live in a house in the countryside 10 kilometres from Grazalema and we have about a hectare of land with vegetable gardens and plenty of space for the 3 children to play. I feel for the parents and kids stuck inside small apartments.

Grazalema so far has no cases of the dreaded virus along with other fairly isolated villages in the area such as Zahara de la Sierra, Villaluenga del Rosario and El Gastor. Ronda has had its share of suffering with over 100 registered infections and, sadly, 13 deaths but that is to be expected as the regional hospital is located here so infected people have arrived not just from the town of Ronda but, outlying villages as well. The nearby village of Ubrique has suffered with many people in an old peoples home becoming ill with the virus.

Tourism is effectively finished for the time being. Towns and villages normally bustling at this time of year are empty. The roads through the Sierra de Grazalema have hardly any vehicles on them and wildlife is quickly reclaiming its space.

I leave this post with a few pictures of the stunning views in the Sierra de Grazalema.

The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park protected area consists of a large cluster of high limestone peaks and within the mountain ranges there are ecosystems with sheer and colourful cliff faces, deep lush valleys, rich green forests and bleak white scree slopes.

Read about Grazalema here.

There are around 20 peaks above 1000m above sea level creating an impressively sculpted landscape. The highest is “El Torreón” at 1654m (5426 feet) which commands fabulous views across the mountains and as far as the plains of Cadiz province.

The area is captivating as so much of it is accessible and can easily be explored with new wonders on every turn. There are many footpaths where you can view the diverse habitats such as – a shaded riverside, a high exposed mountain peak or vertical cliffs that are home to nesting raptors.

Although most of the footpaths are freely open to the public there are four which enter into more sensitive areas that have their access restricted to limited numbers. (Click here to read about how to obtain these permits) There is also a small section in the heart of the park (Garganta Seca) that is completely closed to the public. Continue reading The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park