A high and wide valley enclosed by steep hillsides ending in rocky cliffs is probably the best way to sum up the landscape of Valderejo (3418.5 Ha). Declared a Natural Park in 1992, the valley is located in the most western part of Alava, on the boundary with Burgos. It is almost uninhabited, which has favoured the existence of a rich and varied flora and fauna.

Category: Natural parks
Municipalities:

Alava: Lahoz (Valdegovía/Gaubea), Lalastra (Valdegovía/Gaubea), Ribera (Valdegovía/Gaubea), Villamardones (Valdegovía/Gaubea).

Information:

Casa del Parque (Interpretation Centre)
Lalastra
Phone/Fax: 945 353 146
E-mail: parquevalderejo@parques.alava.net
(The Casa del Parque opens every day except Mondays).

Services:
Services:

The Bóveda Mountain Range and the western stretch of the Árcena Massif enclose and protect this valley, whereas deep into it the River Purón flows through large meadows and plantations. With the passing of years its waters have eroded the mountains of this singular natural area.

Lalastra, the heart of the Park

We gain access to the park through the Valdegovía Valley from the village of San Millán de Zadornil in the province of Burgos. The road will lead us to the town of Lalastra in the heart of Valderejo, a starting point for the routes and itineraries that the park offers.

The Park House (Parketxea) is a beautiful building made of wood and with large windows that is located on the outskirts of the town. It provides hikers with all the information on park routes, activities and services. Visitors can also drop by the Rural Interpretation Centre, where the history of the valley and the habits and customs of its people are displayed.

In Lalastra, we will also find a recreational area with a playground and picnic area. The village boasts a restaurant and rural tourist facilities, ideal places to get our strength back once we have finished the visit to the park. The mountains that enclose the valley offer different hiking and climbing routes. Those nine itineraries with varied length and difficulties travel across the whole parkland. Most of them cover a short distance, but some link up with others, providing long walks to more experienced mountaineers.

Lahoz, Villamardones and Ribera

Apart from Lalastra, there are three other rural centres in Valderejo: Lahoz, Villamardones and Ribera. The last two were abandoned several decades ago. An interesting walk could be to visit their ruins.

The human being has dwelled the valley since time immemorial. The traces of that presence are noticeable in the area's cultural and architectural heritage, which accommodates megalithic monuments (the tumulus of San Lorenzo, the monolith on Mount Lerón) as well as churches and hermitages of different periods. There are remains of a road from the Roman period, and in Ribera for example, stands a Romanesque church with unusual medieval paintings.

Remarks

Mountain paths are not adapted for use by disabled people.

Fauna

The Valderejo Natural Park has the largest colony of griffon vulture in the Basque Autonomous Region. This species that was in danger of extinction is now experiencing a far more prosperous moment. The rocky crags crowning and enclosing the valley offer the perfect breeding habitat for this and other bird species, such as the Egyptian vulture, the peregrine falcon, the alpine swift and the rock thrush among others.

The northern goshawk flits through the forests, where there are also a number of mammals such as the roe deer, the wild cat and the beech marten. Sporadically wolves make incursions into this western strip of Álava.

Flora

Hillsides are covered with thick forests that constitute more than 58 percent of the total green area: Scots pinewoods and beech and holm oak woods are the main sort of forests to be found on the steep mountain slopes, although we can find a number of maples, limes, black poplars, ash trees and gall oaks.

The typical vegetation of rocks and crests replaces the hillside woodlands, where little plants take root into the fissures and cracks. But there is still some wooded vegetation to be found in this setting, such as a mixed forest of gullies and ridges comprising several species of trees and shrubs. One good example of this phenomenon is to be found in the already-mentioned gorge of Purón River.

Location and accomodations in the neighborhoods

Access: A-4338 road from San Zadornil to Lalastra and Lahoz. From Bilbao, taking the N-625 road through the Orduña Pass and the A-2622 road up to Valdegovía and San Zadornil. From Vitoria-Gasteiz and Donostia/San Sebastián, on the N-1 road up to Nanclares de la Oca/Langraiz Oka and on the A-2622 road through Pobes and Espejo until Valdegovía and San Zadornil.

Public Transport: At weekends and bank holidays, bus services twice a day by Hermanos Arriaga Company between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Lalastra. Timetable:
9:00am - 12:30pm (Vitoria-Lalastra)
10:30am - 6pm (Lalastra/Vitoria)

Car Park: In Lalastra, there is a free car park with 125 spaces for cars and buses. In Lahoz, parking next to the square is allowed. Parking space for 25 vehicles.



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