Las Buitreras Canyon (Natural Monument in the Province)
This canyon is placed at the west border of the Alcornocales Nature Park, halfway between the Towns of Cortés de la Frontera, Benarrabá and Benalauría. It has surprisingly steep walls and it is 100 metres deep, except at the Buitreras Canyon, where its depth reaches 200 metres.
The Guadiaro River made this gorge by its continuous and repeated flow over the limestone and marl, which form the mountains in Ronda and Grazalema. Rivers erosion as well as high level of rainfall have made narrow passages and caves which are typical for karstic landscape. Thanks to some drops and waterfalls, the entire scenery seems even more beautiful.
There is an oak forest mixed with juniper, mastic and carob trees close to the canyon. However, the most attractive species is palmetto, the only palm tree which typical of Europe. This palm tree reminds of some exotic palms that can be up to two metres tall.
The canyon is named after a colony of griffon vultures which nest on its rugged sides. Here, you can watch with binoculars some other birds, such as stock and rock doves, or white-throated dippers. Otters can be seen as well.
Humans took part in creating the scenery by making some stunning tunnels and bridges which form part of the railway that goes from Algeciras to Ronda. Along the railway, Puente de los Alemanes, a bridge over a canal, can be seen at one of the most picturesque places, 60 metres above the bottom of the gorge. This is also an exceptional place for canyoning, which is allowed between the 15th of July and the 15th of December.
Natural Monuments: Meaning
Natural Monuments are places or parts of nature which are considered to be significantly unique, rare or beautiful, and therefore are to be protected.
Natural monuments can also be geological formations, palaeontological sites and other geological structures that are of special interest for science, culture or landscape. They can be geological, biotic, geographical, eco-cultural and mixed according to the criteria presented in Article 4 of the Government Decree 225/1999 with regulations regarding the arrangement and management of each of them.
The Council of the Regional Government of Andalusia has authority to establish certain spot or part of nature as a Natural Monument.