Located to the west end of Bizkaia, in the border with Cantabria, the Armañon Natural Park or Ranero constitutes a relevant mountain massive in the landscape of Las Encartaciones. It extends between the cliffs of the rivers Carranza and Agüera, in a series of hills and mountain terrains covering a surface of 2,996 hectares. The highest point of this placed on the summit of Armanón (854 m.), although there are other outstanding tops, such as Pico del Carlista (Ranero,737 m.), Surbias (638 m.) and Jorrios (837 m).

Category: Natural parks
Municipalities:

Bizkaia: Karrantza Harana/Valle De Carranza, Trucios-Turtzioz.

Information:

Turismo Encartaciones
Phone: 946 800 226
Fax. 946 801 356
E-mail: infor@enkartur.net

 

Karrantza Harana/Valle de Carranza Tourist Office
Phone: 946 806 857
Fax: 946 806 520

Services:
Services:

The nature of the massif is essentially calcareous and results in a surface landscape with amazing landforms, in which the karst shapes are common, with karrens, sinkholes, crevices... Moreover, it forms a subterranean landscape with more than 200 caves and chasms that have been catalogued and that have a remarkable geological, paleontological, speleological and biological value. Thus, the Pozalagua cave is an obligatory stop. It was discovered in 1957 and its importance rests in an exceptional phenomenon resulting in eccentric stalactites, that instead of growing downwards they grow in any direction. The cave is situated 2 km from the Ranero neighbourhood in the Karrantza Harana/Valle de Carranza and fitted out for tourist tours. Likewise, we must mention the Torca del Carlista, one of the biggest cavities in Europe, which is more than 400 metres long, 250 metres wide and 90 metres high.

Observations

There are several routes signed for walks going through the communities of Karrantza Harana/Valle de Carranza and Trucios and through the natural area. It is also interesting to visit the natural resources of Encinar de Sopeña, Hayedo de Balgerri, Turberas de Salduero, Zalama, megalithic monuments of Karrantza Harana/Valle de Carranza (itinerary from the necropolis to La Cabaña and Cotobasero), close monumental villages such as Balmaseda, the Avellaneda Assembly House and Karpin Abentura.

Fauna

The high number of bat species present here is outstanding, favoured by the lime character of the massif. Some of them are in danger of extinction in Europe. The rugged landforms are also an important shelter for several species of rupicolous birds. In addition to this, the connection of this territory with the Cantabrian mountain range contribute to the fauna richness and facilitates sporadic incursions of mammals such as the wolf. We can quote many species such as the stoat and the snow vole (Microtus nivalis), which only exists in this area of the Basque Country.

Flora

The plant landscape of mountain is dominated by herbaceous and bush formations that are associated to the agricultural activities, and mainly to cattle raising in the area. Nevertheless, there are important expanses of native forests. For example, there are Cantabrian Holm-oak woods on the East hillsides of the Jorrios Mountain, in the sunny spots of Sopeña and in the ravine of the river Carranza. There are also beech woods in the fresh shades of the river Armañón, oak woods and mixed hardwoods on the hillsides and thalweg beds.

Location and accomodations in the neighborhoods

Access: From the centre of Valle de Carranza follow towards El Molinar and once in Rioseco take the BI-4668 that leads to Ranero. Once there, follow the narrow path that leads to the caves of Pozalagua.

We can also gain access to the Armañón Natural Park following the BI-630 to Balmaseda. In the neighbourhood of Las Torcachas take the road that leads to the sanctuary of Virgen del Buen Suceso.

From Trucios-Turtzioz cross the neighbourhoods of Romaña and Cueto to reach Armañón. From these two neighbourhoods go up following the signs to the park.

Public Transport: By bus: Line Balmaseda-Lanestosa by Bizkaibus halts at the neighbourhood of Ambasaguas in the Valle de Carranza, 8 kilometres from the caves of Pozalagua.

By train: FEVE also stops in the neighbourhood of Ambasaguas.

Car Park: Visitors have access to the caves of Pozalagua car parks. Cars can also be parked in the recreational area of Virgen del Buen Suceso.



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