Sierra de Gádor is a mountain range located in the southwestern tip of the province of Almeria. Its maximum height is 2,249m (Morron de la Launilla). Other heights are Pecho Cuchillo (1,968m.), Dos Hermanas (1,991m.), Nuevo Mundo ( 2,107m.) and Morron de los Franceses (2,236m.). It is 50 km long and 20 km at its widest, with a total area of 86,000 ha. It is a relatively small mountainous area with steeply rising tracks that my poor car struggled with.
The Sierra de Gádor lies between the Sierra Nevada to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, Sierra Alhamilla to the east, and Sierra de La Contraviesa to the west . At its foot is the “Poniente” region of Almería, traditionally called the “Campo de Dalias”. The zone above 1,800m is known locally as “El Pelao” which can have very low temperatures in winter and early spring. There certainly was plenty of ice about (and a little snow) during our visit yesterday!
Sierra de Gádor hosts a range of very interesting flora and fauna, so the fact that it does not have any kind of protection status is not understandable. Its main woodlands are made up of reafforestation carried out over the last third of the 20th century, though it is still possible to find wide areas of Holm Oak, and in the wettest areas, small forests of Acers and Portuguese Oak. On the summits, brooms are predominant. Of the rich and varied flora, plants endemic to this range, Coronopus navasii and Astragalus tremolsianus stand out.
Invertebrates are the most numerous group, butterflies standing out for their importance, this Sierra being listed as an area of special lepidopterological interest. The presence of more than 130 species of birds make it one of the best areas for ornithology in the province too. Among the mammals, the most significant presence is the mountain goat, coming from the nearby Sierra Nevada. Much more numerous is the wild boar that is found all over the territory.
To the north west of the Sierra de Gádor lies a series of small villages (pueblos), we had lunch in a beautiful venta in one such village and made our way then to Las Canales de Padules. Padules a beautiful town belonging to the Alto Andarax, located west of the province of Almería in a mainly agricultural area whose main wealth is in the cultivation of vineyards and olive. Still retains its urban harmony and traditional features, which gives an air of calm and tranquility, enhanced by the Church of Moorish style.
A little outside the pueblo of Padules is a network of waterways known as Las Canales de Padules. Water flows into this network through a natural gorge and is then re-directed by a series of man-made channels to where it is used for irrigation, etc. During the town’s many fiestas, it is common to see people bathing in the water and picnicking by the waterside. There is even an area adjacent to the water specifically assigned for setting up a make-shift bar!
In summary, it was an amazing day out full of learning and visiting the hidden gems of Almería i.e., the “real” Spain. The day was interspersed with playing the saxophone in various locations which at one point, attracted a pair of Golden Eagles! Unfortunately though it took too long to pack away may equipment and get the camera out to get some good photographs.
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