Parc Natural de la Serra Gelada email@example.com Oficina Técnica Paseo de la carretera, 34 (Antiguo Ayuntamiento) 03501 Benidorm (Alicante) Tel. 966 80 75 35 - 966 80 78 79 Centro de Información C/ Oscar Esplá, 1 03580 Albir - Alfàs del Pi (Alicante)Assistance from: Tel. 96 686 71 85 http://parquesnaturales.gva.es Layout: Benjamín Albiach Galán - Kun.Xusa Beltrán Photography: José y Tomás Santamaría - Benjamín Albiach Galán Equipo de Educación Ambiental del Parque - Joan Segovia Map Design: Pau Pérez PuigcerverPrinting this material has been possible thanks to the Cooperation Agreement source: ICV (Cartographic Institute of Valencia)signed on 21st April 2006 by the Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, "la Caixa"and the Generalitat Valenciana (Autonomous Community Authority) for Undertaking Texts: Environmental educacion teamthe Integral Management Plan for Conservation of the Natural Systems of the Printed: Centro Especial de Empleo, IVADISValencian Communitys Network of Nature Reserves. Legal Deposit:
Date of Nature Reserve declaration:2005Date of PORN approval:(Plan for Administration of Natural Resources)11th March 2005Municipalities inside the Reserve:Benidorm, l’Alfàs del Pi and AlteaThe Serra Gelada and coastal environmentnature reserve is one of the most exceptionalreserves in the Valencian Community, throughbeing the first land-sea nature reserve in thisregion. It has a total protected surface area of5,564 ha. (4,920 ha. of this is in the marinemedium) and its waters contain some of themost interesting and surprising underwaterareas in the whole Spanish Mediterranean, spe-cial mention being deserved by the widespreadmeadows of the protected sea phanerogamknown locally as Alguers (Posidonia oceanica)and rocky seabeds such as those of La Llosa,with particular biological diversity.
History As is vouched for by the remains (hooks and plumb lines) found in the Tossal de La Cala site in Benidorm, the Iberian peoples who lived here already had significant fishing activity in the waters of the present nature reserve. This went on until the present time, when different kinds of tackles are used, mainly flue-type, going through ages when almadraba Arab net systems were of great importance for the coastal people, like those of La Vila, Benidorm or Altea. In the 17th century one can find the first written references to the inhabitants of the zone, men- tioned in a report sent by Vespasiano Gonzaga to King Philip II, warning him that the Island of Benidorm was the main refuge for corsairs in the whole kingdom, and suggesting building a watch- tower for this reason. After the threat from pirates had gone, in 1834 the island acted as a haven for several families from Benidorm and La Vila who took refuge here from the epidemic of cholera morbus that was ravaging the whole coast. In the Serra Gelada mining activity, based on extracting ochre, has been known of since the times of the Phoenicians. This resource was exploited until the mid-nineteenth century. The outstanding view from these mountains also made it an important vantage point for keeping lookout for the presence of Berber pirates in the sea, which is why the “Punta Bombarda” and “l’Escaleta” watchtowers were built.P N. de la Serra Gelada Cave of Elephant .
B. Albiach Galán Geology and landscape The land side is dominated by the spectacular which rise almost vertically from sea level, while Serra Gelada mountain range, a small but rugged on the northeastern side it has much more gen- range dividing the bays of Benidorm and Alfás- tle slopes. Altea. As well as this land area of the park there are several islands, two in the municipal area of Geomorphologically, the presence of a “hanging Benidorm, l’Illa de Benidorm and l’Illa Mitjana, fossil dune” consisting of materials known as while in the municipal area of Altea there is the eolianites is of special importance. This formation island of l’Olla and La Galera islet. The elongated started to originate over one hundred thousand shape of the nature reserve is due to the range years ago, when the sea level was lower than it is facing northeast-southwest, with the Albir light- today. On the other hand, the limestone compo- house in its centre and Benidorm island and sition of the range fostered the formation of dif- Morro del Toix at each end of it. Its morphology ferent caves and cavities through the effect of is very different depending on whether one is rainwater seeping through, some of these being standing on the southeast slope, with huge cliffs the Cova de Far and the Boca la Balena. topped by the Alt del Governador at 438 metres,
Vegetation and floraThe heterogeneity of the landscape has encour-aged the formation of different plant communi-ties, the most significant of these being the onesfound in the dune zone of Serra Gelada, throughcontaining endemic species such as the“Palomilla” (Linaria arabiniana), the “Llunetes”(Biscutella montana) or the Prickly Juniper(Juniperus macrocarpa), or the Corema album, aunique plant in the whole Mediterranean throughbeing a species with Atlantic distribution, whichprobably reached this coast transported by birds.The flora communities on the cliffs also includesome highly valuable plants, species which B. Albiach Galán J. Segovia
P N. de la Serra Gelada P N. de la Serra Gelada . . “Silene de Ifach” (Silene hifacensis) Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)botanists call “rupicola” or cave plants, one of amongst other species, by Kermes oaks (Quercusthese being the “Silene de Ifach” (Silene hifacen- coccifera), Lentisc (Pistacia lentiscus) and Blackthornsis), which is at present recovering in the reserve (Rhamnus lycioides).area, the “Orelleta de Ratolí” (Sarcocapnossaetabensis) or the “Canyeta d’or” (Asperula paui On the reserve’s islands there is a predominancesubp. dianensis). of Pauquy (Whithania frutescens), Shrubby seablite (Suaeda vera) or the thorny shrub known as LyciumIn most parts of the Serra Gelada one can find intricatum. On the island of Benidorm, the pricklythickets consisting mainly of Rosemary (Rosmarinus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica), a species proceedingofficinalis), Many-flowered heather (Erica multiflo- from America introduced in the Mediterranean, isra), Juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) and Esparto grass prevalent in certain zones.(Stipa tenacissima) often accompanied by AleppoPines (Pinus halepensis) and some specimens of One of the plants of greatest ecological value is theHolm oak (Quercus rotundifolia), rather small in seagrass known as Posidonia oceanica, which formssize. There are also remains of old crops, for large underwater meadows of vital importance forexample some scattered specimens of the Carob the breeding and growth of numerous marine fauna.tree (Ceratonia siliqua) and Olive (Olea europaea).These abandoned terraces have been colonised,
Fauna This nature area also covers one of the few popu- lations of the bottlenose dolphin (Turciops trunca-Through covering both a marine and a land medi- tus) in the Spanish peninsular waters. This is a fam-um, the diversity of animals that can be seen in ily group that swims and feeds fairly often in thethe park is very great, covering all the major area, included in a larger area which probably cov-groups of fauna, from small invertebrates, fish and ers the whole coastal strip of Alicante province.large mammals. The plentiful variety of commer-cial species in its waters has been well known As regards the land fauna, the group of sea birdssince times immemorial, which has made these is significant as they have major breeding zones onhighly appreciated fishing zones for the inhabi- the reserve. The Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelag-tants of coastal villages, especially the deeper icus melitensis), nesting on Mitjana and Benidormwaters around the Island of Benidorm, where at islands, has one of the breeding colonies of great-present the submerged promontory known as la est size in the western Mediterranean on the lat-Llosa has great renown in the diving world. ter, with over 500 couples. Fardatxo Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis) José y Tomás Santamaría José y Tomás Santamaría
Forat de lÀse Rio d e Gu Polop adale st Illot de la Galera Rio de l’A Illot de la l’Olla lga La Nucia r Altea L’Alfàs del Pi Platja del Racó 70 Minas de Ocre CV- Albir Lighthouse -7 AP Boca de la Balena 32 -3 Alt del N Governador Benidorm Illa Mitjana La Cruz Mediterranean Sea Torre de la Cala del Tí punta del Cavall XimoIlla de Benidorm E: 1/85.000 0 1.000 2.000 4.000 m
1 Punta de l’Esparralló 2 8 7 3 Barreta de 5 6 les Mines 4 12 11 9 10 . Route 1: The Albir lighthouse Length: 5 km (there and back) Duration: 1h 30 mm to 2 hours Maximum ascent: 112 metres Accessibility: Asphalted route. Hiking. Bicycle tourism. Wheelchairs. Difficulty: Low Starting from El Albir information point (Alfás del Pi) (1), go up the street known as “Camí de la Cantera”, which, as its name indicates, ends up in an old quarry from which stone was dug; but do not go as far as this and turn to the left down “Sirio” and “Neptuno” streets, until you come to a car park where one of the entrances to the Nature Reserve, the Albir lighthouse path (2) is located. A few metres further on there is a small picnic area (3). P N. de la Serra Gelada The Albir lighthouse .
From this point the yellow route 2 leads off towardsthe crest of the Serra Gelada (4).“Caleta del Metge” and vantage pointGo along the asphalted track to a tunnel throughthe mountains (7), but before you get there onthe right there is an earthen track (5) along whichyou can go down to a small cove known as“Caleta del Metge”, and a little after this there is acircular vantage point which gives you a wonder-ful view of the entire Altea bay, with the Penyald’Ifach (6) in the background, surrounded by thespectacular mountains which envelop this cornerof the Marina BaixaWhen you get to the mouth of the tunnel (7),you will find another vantage point, smaller thanthe previous one (8).“La Mina” ochre mines and coveGo on towards the lighthouse and after 300 metresyou will come to the path (9) which gently dropstowards the mines, originally Phoenician and laterexploited by the Romans, from which the ochreused as a colorant was extracted until well into thelast century, when it fell into disuse through theusage of new substances for this purpose.The “Boca de la Balena”At about 500 metres from the tunnel you willreach a curve in the track (10). If you look up tothe right from here you will see a large naturalcavity known as “Boca de la Balena (The Whale’sMouth)” or “Cova de Bou” (Bull’s cave) in theshady part of the mountain.El Albir LighthouseAt the end of the road you will come to El AlbirLighthouse, (12) to which access is not allowed.Just before you get there a small rise leads youto the edge of the cliff, from which there is agood view (11). P N. de la Serra Gelada The Serra Gelada, and the Illa Mitjana .
L’Estufador 1 3 Punta de la Pila 2 Morro de San Jordi Illot de la Caleta 4 B. Albiach Galán 5 L’Illa Mitjana illa Mitjana . Route 2: Crossing the Serra Gelada 6 7 Length: 8 km (only one way) El Morret Negre Duration: from 4h to 4h 30 min 8 Maximum ascent: 438 metres Accessibility: Only suitable for hikers. Difficulty: Moderate-high. The lack of any freshwater springs on the way means that plenty of water has to be taken with you. The route covers steep upward and down- 9 ward slopes, which can be avoided by taking Cantal Roig branches keeping more to the level.11 The route starts from El Albir picnic area (1), on 10 route 1 (red), with a constant upward zigzag which starts with stone stairs as far as the road for access to the relay station and antennas (3), Coves de Paltra going beside an old quarry (2). N
1 4 3 2 Cala Almadrava Cala Ti Ximo“Alt del Governador”At the end of this track you will reach the highestpoint on the Serra Gelada (438 m), where youwill find a telecommunications relay station. 5Going on downwards along an asphalted trackyou will link up with the path again (4). Almost atthe edge of the cliff you will find a geodesic ver-tex (5), from which you can see the majesty ofthese sheer precipices, seeing the yellow-leggedgulls wheeling hundreds of metres below yourfeet, looking really tiny.“L’Illa Mitjana”The route across the range goes on with continu- . Route 3: “Punta del Cavall” or“Puntaous ups and downs, going by the ruins of an old de la Escaleta “coastal vigilance house (6) and a small cistern inthe river bed (7). Half way along you will find a Length: 5.2 km (there and back)spot where there is a small pine spinney which is plus 700 m of the Cala dela good place to take a short rest (8), while you Ti Ximo.enjoy a beautiful view of “Illa Mitjana”. Duration: From 2h to 2h 30 min Maximum ascent: 75 mThe cross Accessibility: Asphalted route. Hiking.The last section of the mountain that the route Bicycle tourism.covers goes over a last rise from which you can Wheelchairs.again see the cliffs (9). From this point you must Difficulty: Lowpay attention so as not to miss the track that goesbetween the low vegetation or bare rock. A few The route starts at the end of Levante beach (1), atminutes later you come to a cross (10) located the slope which leads to hotel Benikaktus, in Alcaldeover the Raco de l’Oix, from which an asphalt- Manuel Catalán Chana street Along the asphalted roaded path starts out (11) connecting up with itin- you should leave the crossroads that goes to the crosserary 3 (blue). on the left (route 2, yellow) and go on as far as a turn-
ing (2) which drops to the Punta Llisera vantage can be visited. Fishing with rods and spending thepoint and the Cala del Ti Ximo. night there are not allowed. Domestic animals cannot be taken onto the islet.“Cala del Tio Ximo” Illa Mitjana.This is a peaceful Mediterranean cove, relatively Access is not allowed. Sailing around it mustseparate from the busy beaches of the centre of always be at a speed of under 3 knots.Benidorm. Beside the beach you can see the oldochre mines (4), where, not so long ago, Ti Serra Gelada.Ximo and his mules worked away. Hiking and bicycle-tourism is allowed along the established itineraries.Watchtower Illa de Benidorm.Go back to the road and on the right-hand side Visits are allowed (though it is not allowed to takeyou should take a road with restricted access to domestic animals on to the island) but fishing withmotor vehicles (3), from which you should head rods from the island and spending the night on ittowards the Punta del Cavall, where there is a are forbidden. Sailing around it must always be at17th century watchtower (5). From this point a speed of under 3 knots.you can see one of the best views of the cliffs of Marine area of Morro del ToixSerra Gelada and very close to these Illa Mitjana. Sailing is allowed always at a speed under 3 knots.Both this point and the Punta Bombarda, in ElAlbir, are excellent viewpoints, which is why inmedieval times they built the watchtowers from Accesseswhich the people could be warned of the pres-ence of Berber pirates. Benidorm Information Point and Benidorm IslandPublic use The best way to find this centre, located in the oldThe reserve is governed by specific legislation town centre of Benidorm, very close to the port(Planning System for the Natural Resources of the and nautical club, is to look for these. You canSerra Gelada and its coastal environment -DOGV access the town centre from different roads whe-16/03/2005) which includes the planning of the ther you come from the N-332 or from the AP-7area covered by the park, distributed into zones motorway. The most convenient way is to come inwith different degrees of protection and their from the south along the Avenida de la Armadauses and activities. The different zones can be Española by Poniente beach. Go right along thisseen on the enclosed map and some general and up Avenida Jaume I; when you come to thenorms are summed up below: first traffic light, turn right along Calle Marqués de Comillas until you reach the Avenida de los Almen-L’Olla and la Galera islets. dros, and there you are forced to turn right and goOnly a small part of the shoreline of Illot de l’ Olla down to the start of the Elche Park, where the
Avenida de la Carretera starts on the left-hand andthe reserves information point is located.On the way in to Elche Park, there is a small streetleading to the port and from there you can takeone of the passenger boats known as "golondrinas",to get to the Illa de Benidorm.El Albir InformationPoint and El Albir LighthouseOn the N-332 just by a well-known supermarket,you should turn towards the sea at the traffic lightswhere you will see a sign saying "Playa del Albir". Goon along the Avenida del Albir as far as the informa-tion point at the beginning of Calle Oscar Espláwhich you will see on the left in a house surroundedby a garden and fence.Access to the reserve from this centre is easy, bytaking the "Camí Vell del Far" which you have left onthe right when you went into the street with theinformation centre.Rules Do not leave the marked Dogs must be on a paths to take short cuts leash No picking flowers and Do not bother or catch plants any animals Do not drop litter in the No camping in the reserve. Use the litter bins nature reserve No motor vehicles allowed It is strictly forbidden to on the tracks light fires Please do not make noise