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Natural Sites

THE PUERTO CAVE

This is to be found on the south/south west side of Monte Chatres which forms part of the mountainous chain of the Sierra del Puerto, some 9k from Calasparra.

The Puerto Cave is one of the longest horizontal caves in the Murcia region with about 5K of cavaties on an incline of 114 metres. The interior consists of galleries and rooms of great natural beauty.

CUEVA DEL PUERTO 002
It is made of materials from the Superior Cretaceous era distinguished by a complex dolomitic foundation and a superior limestone appertaining to a marine ambient. In the Tertiary or Cenozoic period alpine fissures produced the main mountain chains on the planet, including the  Baetic range and with them the Sierra del Puerto.

The cave offers different itineraries:

  • The touristic visit is a 700 metre walk  with lighting and acoustic accompaniment on an incline of  25-30 metres, during which you can observe the different rooms and galleries, formed out of   speolotherms (drippings) which have made spectacular stalactites and stalacmites in a great variety of colours;  tubiforms along the length of the cave; and the great rooms of karstic formations. We can enjoy the different rooms which have been imaginatively named: La Gaudi Room, one of the best examples and with a basement of bizarre but unequalled beauty; the Medusa Room (very large) which originated from a crack in the wall through which water flowed and which formed a disc under which statalites have formed in an adjoining chamber called the Chickpea Room; The Room with the Curtain; the Organ Room and the Wishing Well where great columns have formed as well as formations on the walls as a result of drips or spurts of water.

  • The potholing visit for lovers of strong emotions and excitement this is a trip through the less travelled areas of this natural wonder organised for small groups in the Gran Diaclasa, at a depth of 114 metres.

For guided visits to the Cave for both types of tours, contact the Tourist Office of Calasparra on 968 745 325 or through Qalat on 968 723 000.

 

ALMADENES CANYON

The river Segura, as it passes through Calasparra and  Cieza, flows through some of the most surprising and beautiful landscapes in the Murcia region. This Protected Natural Space is a gorge which is 150 metres deep in places. The Almadenes Canyon seems an incredible landscape lying on the foothills of the Molino, Palera and Almorchón mountains, skirting the Calasparra syncline on the left margin and the Alto de la Serreta. The views from the foot of the canyon to the top are spectacular, as the peculiar, karstic ( a type of topography formed on limestone, gypsum and other rocks by dissolution which is characterised by sinkholes, caves and underground drainage) formations, springs and waterfalls appear before the eyes of the traveller.  

There is abundant vegetation along the riverbanks where you can see black poplars, elms, alder trees, ashes, willows, and bushes. These bushes also grow along the sides of the canyon with trees standing in isolation. The most important element of the wildlife associated with the canyon is the otter and the most significant colony in Murcia lives here, but there are also galápago leproso (turtles) and local crayfish. Also registered in this area are birds such as the woodpecker, the blackbird and the kingfisher.

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Inhabited since the Paleolític age the caves, rocky shelters and their escarpments were used by prehistoric populations as refuges. They were attracted by the rich natural resources of the area through which the river Segura flows. The fertile terroritory was exploited for agriculture and livestock. An example of these is the Abrigos del Pozo in Calasparra, declared by UNESCO as Patrimony of Humanity and the Cueva-Sima de la Serreta in Cieza.

Anyone who loves nature and places untouched by the human hand will find the Almadenes Canyon  a landscape of singular beauty. On the other hand there is a rich biodiversity of flora including  poplars,  ashes and willows and wildlife such as the eagle owl, the short toed Eagle and the otter.

In this attractive touristic enclave you can pursue adventure sports such as trecking, canyoning, and of course, the river descent by inflatable boat or kayak which offers every visitor the opportunity to travel down the river irrrespective of their age or physical fitness.

GEOLOGICAL SITE “CABEZO NEGRO”

The Cabezo Negro (black head) of Calasparra is catagorized as a Place of Geological Interest of the Murcia Region because it is the most representative volcanic vent or chimney  uncovered by erosion on the Iberian Peninsular.

The Cabezo Negro is a volcanic rock outcrop, interpreted by some experts as the remains of an antique solidification of lava of great significance which has been partially eroded, and which constitutes a volcanic aparatus complete with its chimney which perforates limestone or loadstone materials of the Tertiary period. This outcrop of igneous rock appertains to the Socovos fault which is very deep and is associated with other different volcanic outcrops.

The outcrop of  Cabezo Negro, has a round form and is injected in the loamstone of the Upper Miocene.

Apart from the high geological value of this natural space it also offers an elevated landscape value and flora of great interest. It is near to other important natural spaces of great interest such as the Cañaverosa nature reserve and the Lomas de la Virgen.

To visit follow the footpath of 750 metres with rest areas, a viewing point and a series of information panels for a better understanding of this important site.

Located on the Santuario Ntra. Sra. De la Esperanza road, Cabezo Negro area.

THE PADDY FIELDS

The Paddy Fields of Calasparra are in the Vega Alta (fertile lands or meadows) of the River Segura and are framed by the Sierra del Puerto in the north and the Sierra del Molino in the south. The banks of the river are edged by dense canes, oleanders and reeds; by the paddy fields, distributed in plots or “boxes” and which are rotated with other crops; and by the irrigation canals  (Berberín y Rotas), all of which form a spectacular landscape which changes depending on the season. When the rice is sown the ground becomes a giant mirror, which after sowing in May, is full of green shoots that grow to form a dense green carpet in the summer which turns to gold in September just before the harvest.
There are various recreation and bathing areas in the valley.

In order to enjoy the views better go to the Los Lomas Viewing Point on the Sanctuary Road.

ALFONSO XIII RESERVOIR

The Alfonso XIII reservoir or the wetlands of Quípar are located at 300 metres altitude and occupy some 216 hectares. The dyke or dam of the River Quipar crosses the reservoir in a SW-NE direction. It may be considered one of the most important wetlands in the Murcia region and is home to a great number of aquatic birds. For this reason the whole area of the reservoir and its surroundings has been declared LIC (Place of Community Interest) and ZEPA (Special Area of Protection for Birds).

It was constructed 1917, to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of flooding in the vega alta of the river Segura, due to water the River Quipar breaking its banks..  On the west of the reservoir there are salt lakes, known as the “salt pot of Calasparra,” on limestone and cretaceous lime. They were inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1918.

Access: from Calasparra, by the MU-552 road. At 6 kilometres from Calasparra turn left on the road that goes to the dam.

COPSES AND RIVERBANK WOODS OF THE CAÑAVEROSA. NATURAL RESERVE

These are located on the high course of the river Segura, on the North West of Murcia, in the municipal areas of Calasparra and Moratalla.

The Nature Reserve of the Copses and Woods of the Riverbanks of Cañaverosa, is a place of great value to the ecosystem due to the singularity and integrity of the ecosystems which constitute the riverbanks and are biotic for the communitites and species of interest.

We will find three different types of community habitats of interest:  brushwood and small thermophilic aromatic plants; esciphilic herbacous communities and single plants and higrophilic borders; and the riverbank forests with weeping willows and alba poplars. The wildlife includes protected species such as the otter, Galápago leproso (turtles) and the Odonato (dragonfly).

This area was declared a Nature Reserve by Law 4/1992 of Ordenance and Protection of the Murcia Region. The riverbank woods have been recognised at international level on numerous occasions and are unique to the Murcia region.

LAS LOMAS VIEWING POINT

Located on the access road to the Sanctuary on the right hand side is the Los Lomas Viewing Point which offers stupendous views across the paddy fields and meadows with the different crops of the season.

In May, when the rice is sown, the land is permanently flooded lending it a surprising aspect,  then in summer the rice is a verdant green, turning to gold in October, before the harvest.