Although the aforementioned mountain is the centre and emblem of the nature park with a surface area of 2,860 square metres, from an environmental point of view, most of the land is in fact closely connected to agriculture and to the farming activities in a farmhouse. It is therefore a space that, compared to others of the same category, shows different characteristics. We could say that it is an excellent example of humanised landscape and traditional exploitation, including a number of specific elements that should be highlighted.
Owing to this fact, and since the area belongs to the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the park's educational and recreational aspects in connection with nature have been promoted, while experiments on forest plantation have continued. This way, a nature school and an environmental interpretation centre have been opened at the Parketxe Iturraran (a 14th century farmhouse). It is a museum containing both purely natural aspects and others related to farm work. The creation of botanical gardens containing exotic species follows the aforementioned policy.
Agorregi forge and archaeological remains
On the other hand, the reconstruction in the vicinity of the water-run Agorregi forge, the origin of which dates back to the early 15th century, gives us an idea of an activity that was once enormously significant in the area. All valleys are dotted with installations devoted to charcoal making with wood from the nearby forests. In the park we can also observe the so-called "elurzuloak", which are kinds of fridge that provide information about how people in the old days managed to keep the food cool (by packing snow into the cavities prepared for this purpose during winter), when refrigerators had not been invented yet.
The human presence in Pagoeta dates from long ago. The park accommodates important traces of its prehistoric past: dolmens (Otagain, Olarteta, Zaingo), tumuli (Muzin, Arreta) and important cave sites (Erratia and Amalda in the Alzoralas Valley).
Visitors can request general information about the park and the activities that are organised there at the Iturraran Park House (Parketxe Iturraran). Besides, several picnic areas have been fitted out in open areas adjoined by oak groves.
This exceptional setting accommodates an interesting fauna, especially the one related to birds. The park is home to species typically mountainous such as the citril finch, the water pipit, the peregrine falcon, as well as scavenger birds that comb the area.
Mammals include species such as wild boars; wild cats, genets, beech martens, badgers or the southern water voles, as well as roe deer, thanks to the reintroduction carried out over the last years.
One exceptional characteristic of this landscape is its large woods, which are specially spectacular and colourful in autumn.
Beech groves (Basque word "Pagoeta" means a place with beech trees) are mainly located in the shady places of the mountain range, being the most outstanding wood the one that covers and protects the northern slopes of Mount Ernio. Other smaller beech grooves can be seen between pastures and scrublands.
On the other hand, oak tree woods standing along the watercourse and the alder groves at the bottom of the valleys, combine with shrubs, groves and fields, forming beautiful scenery rich in habitat and species.
Species related to limestone crags that include those endemics of the Pyrenean-Cantabrian area, are other interesting vegetation and are to be found on the crest of Ernio.
Several signposted walks. Guided visits for groups are organised that include a visit to the Parketxe Iturraran Museum, to the Agorregi complex (the mill and the old foundry), deer watching, cheese and cider tasting, etc.