Extremadura is a very green region, with impressive natural landscapes where you can loose yourself during any time of the year. Among the best tourist proposals to enjoy during this summer are the Greenways: old railroad paths, now in disuse that have been reconditioned for traveling by foot or by bicycle or on horseback. Most Greenways are also accessible to the handicapped.
Extremadura is a region in Spain, which is just west of Madrid and borders with neighboring country Portugal. The region currently boasts of three Greenways all equipped for the enjoyment of the different users, and this year a new section will be inaugurated in the north of the Province of Caceres.
Itinerary Between Two Provinces
The Greenway of “Las Vegas del Guadiana” and “Las Villuercas” connects “Villanueva de la Serena” with “Logrosán” thus joining two Provinces: Badajoz and Cáceres.
The 56-kilometer stretch is a good example of the great diversity of landscapes in this region; the road goes through pasturelands, agricultural fields and wetlands. The visitor will pass through a number of municipalities: “Rena, Villar de Rena, El Torviscal, Palazuelo, Madrigalejo, Navalvillar de Pela, Logrosán, Campolugar and Alía”.
Visitors can enjoy up to nine protected natural spaces that are located within a radius of less than five kilometers. The natural spaces of greatest interest are the “Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark”, the Sites of Community Importance (SCI) of the “Guadiana Alto River” and “Zújar River”, the pasturelands of “Ruecas” and “Cubillar”, the “Ruecas Alto River”, the “Sierra de Cabezas de Aguila” mountains and the refuge at “Alto de San Blas”. A must visit is the Logrosán Mines, which is one of the forty-four geosites of the Geopark. This is an old mine where calcium phosphate was exploited and is now converted into a tourist attraction.
In addition we will find the Special Protection Area (SPA) for bird wild life at “Llanos de Zorita”, “Sierra Brava” reservoir, the rice paddies of “Palazuelo” and “Guadalperales”, as well as the meadows of “Ruecas”, “Cubilar” and “Moheda Alta”.
Pastureland Scenery and “La Jayona”
The recommended walking tour or bicycle route through the Plasencia countryside goes past the foot of the “Sierra Morena” mountain range by the old narrow-gauge line from “Peñarroya” to “Fuente del Arco”. You will admire the pasturelands dotted with Oak trees, extensive lands intended for various agricultural crops and the immense Spanish Olive tree groves.
The twenty-kilometer greenway starts at the “Fuente del Arco” station and reaches the resting area located near the N-432 road at “Azuaga”. The route invites us to visit the municipalities of “Fuente del Arco”, “Reina”, “Valverde de Llerena”, “Berlanga” and “Azuaga”. Also, visit an old mine on the route and the Natural Monument of “La Jayona” which is a magnificent complement to this route.
This Greenway has nine protected natural areas in its surroundings such as Sites of Community Importance (SCI) of the “Matachel” and the “Bembezar” rivers, the Special Protection Area for bird wild life (SPA) of south “Campiña” and the “Arroyo Conejos” reservoir, as well as the “Las Quinientas” park in Berlanga and the Bembezar River Ecological and Biodiversity Corridor.
The Greenway to Discover the Monfragüe National Park
The old railroad stretch that passes through the Monfragüe National Park is located to the south of a town called Malpartida de Plasencia and has 17 kilometers that starts at the Monfragüe railroad station and continues until the upper pass of a paved road at “Caserio de Urdimalas”.
This road can be completed by foot or on bicycle, even though it has a number of inclined slopes. On route we will find a landscape of pastureland filled with oaks and also, shrubs of rockrose, rosemary and broom. It has seven natural protected areas, including the Monfragüe National Park.
Located along this route are (SCI) Sites of Community Importance such as the streams of “Barbaón” and “Calzones”, as well as the Special Protection Area (SPA) for bird wildlife of the Tietar River and adjoining pine forests.
The Ambroz River Valley and the New Greenway
The new greenway that will connect Béjar and Plasencia will be the fourth in this region and is about to open its first segment. We estimate that the stretch between “Baños de Montemayor” and Béjar will be open to the public during the month of September, this year.
Once the complete project is finished, the Greenway of the North of Cáceres will join Plasencia with Béjar. The 48.5 – kilometer route belongs to the old “Ruta de la Plata” (the Silver Route) railroad, which linked Palazuelo and Astorga. This railroad stopped serving passengers in 1984 and merchandize in 1996.
The future users of this new Greenway, from Plasencia to Béjar will enjoy the landscapes and beautiful surrounding of “Oliva de Plasencia”, “Cabezabellosa”, “Jarilla”, “Casas del Monte”, “Segura de Toro”, “Aldeanueva del Camino”, “Hervás”, “Baños de Montemayor”, “Puerto de Béjar” and “Cantagallo”.
Original article by Ainhoa Miguel
Translated by Susana Windt