Gall oak and oak forests

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Gall oak and oak forests

Environs of Guadalentín Canyon

The descent into the Guadalentín canyon goes through one of the best gall oak forests in the Nature Reserve. The majestic peaks of Poyos de la Carilarga rise up on the other side of the canyon, surrounded by gall oaks. This walk through the oak forest, close to the river and the rocky outcrops, is a wonderful way to enjoy nature in this area.

Formerly the gall oak forests, deeply rooted in good soil rich in organic matter, were one of the most extensive forest formations in the mountains. In this forest, gall oaks (Quercus faginea) predominate. When humans colonised the mountains, the rich, fertile land was taken over for meadows and the forests were cut down to use the spoils for fuel and building material. Subsequently, the wood of the oaks and gall oaks from the mountains were used in the naval industry. Today, the few remaining clusters of oak are hidden away in quiet spots on shady slopes and valley floors, forming little groves.

The gall oaks (Quercus faginea) are accompanied by the odd Coriscan pine (Pinus nigra salzmannii) and a few holm oaks (Quercus ilex ballota). The undergrowth comprises trees – rock cherries (Prunus mahaleb) and wild service trees (Sorbus trominlis) – and bushes, including hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna), rosehips (Rosa spp.), laurel-leaved daphni (Daphne laureola) and barberries (Berberis vulgaris australis). The floor cover consists of a series of grasses, including such gramineae as Brachypodium sylvaticum, Brachypodium phoenocoides, Festuca arundinacea, Dactylis glomerata and Piptaterum meliaceum. Other species that grow in the gall oak forests are buttercups (Geum sylvaticum), violets (Viola odorata), primulas (Primula vulgaris), self-heals (Prunella grandiflora, P. laciniata, P. vulgaris), dropworts (Filipendula vulgaris), dungworts (Helleborus foetidus), daffodils (Narcissus triandrus pallidulus) and squills (Scilla paui).



To get there, take the road that goes from Vadillo Castril to La Nava de San Pedro. When you come to Los Collados the road turns into a dirt track but the surface is good. When you pass La Nava de San Pedro, look out for the second turn-off to the right. The track is closed to vehicles and only a few metres from the abandoned Fuente Acero forestry house, which you can see from the track. Go past the house, and around 200 m further on you will come to a turn-off where you can park your car and continue on foot. Almost immediately you will enter a splendid gall oak forest.

X coordinates: UTM: 30 S WG13 94 513879
Y coordinates: UTM: 30 S WG13 94 4194576
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