Walking and wildlife
The region is ideal for walking. There are numerous walks that can be done from the house, from reasonably level circuits, or longer, more hilly treks into the vast pine plantations that border the village. There are many tracks to follow that criss-cross the landscape, winding their way through rock strewn valleys and between stands of Mediterranean Oak and Aleppo Pine, with constantly changing vistas of the surrounding mountains.
The pictures to the left and right are of the tracks nearby, with almond blossom in March/April and the spectacular wild flowers of May. Below is one of the many pine plantations close to the property, this photo taken in November.
Foxes and hares are often encountered on these walks, and you may be lucky enough to see deer or wild boar.
A short drive away there are signed walks in the Natural Park of the Sierra de Maria, including a marked way through a 'botanic garden' where native species of flora are labelled. Some of these routes are quite steep, climbing high into the mountains, but the views are spectacular. There are picnic sites in the park, one of which has a summer bar. The forest consists mostly of pine and oak, with an under carpet of rosemary, thyme, sage and cistus. Tall asphodels send up their flower spikes in the spring.
The picture to the left is of a young bee-eater. These brilliantly coloured birds visit the region from May to September to produce their young, and their calls, along with those of the larks and buntings, are a constant accompaniment in warmer weather. Rollers from Africa can also be seen during the Summer months, and hoopoes inhabit the area for most of the year, with their distinctive cry heard particularly in the Spring.
In cloudier weather it is worth scanning the sky for vultures and eagles, when they can be more easily spotted. The vultures are usually seen in groups, sometimes of up to 50 in number, circling high overhead. With a wingspan of around 2 metres, they are a dramatic sight. Eagles tend to be more solitary or in pairs. There are golden eagles in the Sierra de Maria, and lammergeyers have been re-introduced.
There are walks also in the pine forests of the Sierra de Orce, just a short drive to the South. There is also a picnic spot here, and a stunning viewpoint at a site of prehistoric flint mines.
To the North, around the Sierra de Sagra and into the vast Natural Park of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas, the walking options are virtually limitless.
Most of these mountains and parks are readily accessible by car, or we can arrange trips by Landrover on the unpaved roads.