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Woods of Galicia

Ancares - Courel

It can be said that Os Ancares and O Courel make up the largest green reserve in Galicia. Wolves, wild boar, foxes and roe dear are some of the animals that you can find if you take a walk on one of the area’s beautiful paths. it wouldn't be impossible to find the track of the brown bear or maybe the grouse.

There is an infinity of routes that cross these valleys and mountains, snaking between chestnut trees, oak, beech, birch, and even holm oaks.

To begin with, we propose that you get to know five of the area’s most emblematic woods: the extraordinary Aciñeiral de Cruzul (Becerreá), the Souto de Agüeira (As Nogais), the beautiful Devesa de Rogueira (Seoane do Courel) and the magical Bosque de Cabana Vella (Cervantes).  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the “aulas de naturaleza” or “nature classrooms” of Degrada and Moreda in order to gather more information on the spaces that you are going to explore and that you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with.

In the same area – Os Ancares- O Courel – but further north, you will find the sixth wood that we propose: the ancestral Fraga da Marronda (Baleira), where you will discover the most occidental beeches for reserves in southern Europe living alongside oak, chestnut, holly, and other species. Make sure you don’t miss a thing on visit to these Galician woods!

Os Ancares

Home of the bear, wolf and grouse

It's not easy to come across a bear when walking through Os Ancares, but it can happen. According to the Fundación Oso Pardo (Brown Bear Foundation), this animal has returned to the mountains of Lugo during the early 21st century and has settled happily in the woods here. But this mountainous terrain is also home to other emblematic residents such as wolves and grouse. In Os Ancares we will find beautiful mountain scenery and abundant flora and fauna. But this is also wild countryside where winters are snowy and severe. Some of the local towns still stand on the pre-Roman ruins of pallozas or roundhouses that were inhabited until fairly recently.

We can discover the magic of nature in all corners of the woodland here, in the great hollow oaks that flower each year or the holly which splashes the snowy landscape with its red hues in winter. Although there are many woods that give Os Ancares its beautiful colours, on this occasion we suggest that you start by getting to know one of them in particular: Cabana Vella.

  • "Pallozas" in Piornedo

  • "Alvariza" in Os Ancares

  • Os Ancares

  • Os Ancares

  • Os Ancares

  • Os Ancares

  • Bear in Ancares

  • Route profile

  • Route map

Route of A Cabana Vella
Starting pointRoute typeKmEstimated time requiredTerrain difficultyOrientation difficultuy
Degrada (Cervantes)Circular17.635 h 30 min.MediumMedium-high
PROFILE: Experienced people  who have knowledge of map-reading and orientation

This wonderful walking route through Os Ancares will take you to a small hamlet called Degrada in the municipality of Cervantes. Behind the emblematic Club Ancares hostel you will find the Nature Interpretation Centre, a good place to start where you can pick up information for the day ahead.

From there, you will take off on a special kind of journey: we will be travelling back in time to when the woods were magical, mysterious places, because the Cabana Vella woods open a window out onto the past.

The route is not signposted, but don’t worry! It’s easy to get your bearings when weather conditions are good. Take the path that gently ascends from the lower end of the Club Ancares car park. Soon you will come to a fork in the path: you should follow the path leading in the direction of the Tres Bispos peak. Around 5.5 km from the starting point, you will reach the clearing at Tres Bispos. At this point the track comes to an end, giving way to a narrow path that heads bravely into the thick woods that you will see on your right. Attention all adventurers! The bravest among you will have the chance to take a detour (1 hour) from the main route to ascend to the peak of the popular peak of Tres Bispos. It will make your trek longer and a little bit harder, but it's well worth the effort because you can enjoy some magnificent views from the top of the peak

Once you are in the clearing again, the path that you need to find which ascends on your right may well be the most complicated point on the route, since snow in winter or lush vegetation in spring can make it difficult to spot. So pay attention to the map! Once you have found your bearings, follow the path through the trees: it will lead you out onto the ridge, the Golada de Vara. Here you leave the natural path to take up a new track which you should follow to the right: finally passing through the magical woods of Cabana Vella, the track will lead you back to our starting point.

It is worth taking your time on this route, opening up your senses to all the sensations the woods have to offer. Who knows, perhaps we will hear a grouse calling as he tries to seduce a mate.

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