East of the province of Lugo, the Cantabrian mountain range juts out forming a range that runs from the north to the south between the provinces of Lugo and León. It is a mountainous area where the forest and scrubland have stood the test of time. In the lower parts, where the presence of humans is greater, a mosaic of forests, meadows and rivers round out an ensemble of great natural value

The great Cantabrian mountains

Os Ancares and Montes de Cervantes are dominated by a series of mountains of gentle relief that near 2000 metres of altitude, where it is easy to find snow for several months a year. On the Galician side, they drain through a large river system to the Navia river, resulting in deep valleys on whose slopes the forest takes centre stage. Depending on the exposure and altitude there is forest or scrubland and, accordingly, the area is very diverse. In the most human-populated areas, meadows provide a new dimension to the whole

The routes
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"Circus" route by car

BEST TIME

From March to September

DISTANCE

108 km

DURATION

All day

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Becerreá, Cervantes, Navia de Suarna

PATH

Liber - Doiras - Piornedo - Rao - Navia de Suarna and return

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Key points on the route:

  1. The entire route offers the chance to view a large range of species, especially birds of prey. It is key to drive slowly and stop at the most interesting places. Between Doiras (1) and Campo da Braña (2), a stop is recommended at places where there is a good view of the landscape: the hills at the mountains are good places to find the northern harrier.
  2. From here to Piornedo the winding road runs along one of the finest forests of the Ancares, the Abeixido (3). It is important to stop and listen, since species such as the black woodpecker and eurasian nuthatch can be found.
  3. In Piornedo (4) there are many species common to agricultural environments. A short walk enables bird watchers to see swallows and martins, as well as red-backed shrikes.
  4. After passing the town of Balouta in León, the route enters the Rao river (5) canyon. Again, it is important to make stops to listen to forest birds.
  5. At the end of the canyon, in the parish of Rao, various rocky cliffs enable the viewing of cliff species (6).
  6. In Navia de Suarna (7) the route approaches the river to observe birds connected to it, such as the grey wagtail.
  7. From here to Liber (8) pay attention to the different thrushes existing alongside characteristic species such as the blue rock thrush.

 

"Regulus" route by car

BEST TIME

From March to September

DISTANCE

25 km

DURATION

2 hours

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Becerreá, Cervantes

PATH

Liber - San Román de Cervantes - Campa da Braña

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Key points on the route:

  1. From Liber (1) the route heads off towards San Román de Cervantes. A stop at the Navia river (2) provides an opportunity to watch riverside birds such as the grey wagtail and, in spring, the oriole.
  2. After passing San Román (3), the route climbs up for a few kilometres through open habitats, pastures and scrubland - pay attention to raptors such as montagu's harrier or, in late summer, the lesser kestrel.
  3. Next, the route arrives at an area of pine forests known as Sete Carballos (4). It is very interesting area for certain passerines such as the goldcrest.
  4. Once in Campa da Braña (5) the route makes its way to the surroundings of the Club Ancares mountain inn (6) and a few kilometres further up in Teso de Fieiró (7) northern harrier can be seen with some luck.

 

"Phyrrocorax" route on foot

BEST TIME

From April to September

DISTANCE

14 km round trip

DURATION

5 hours round trip

DIFFICULTY

Medium

COUNCILS

Cervantes

PATH

From the Club Ancares mountain inn to the summit of Tres Bispos

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Key points on the route:

  1. Leaving the inn, the route runs through scrub-covered slopes where species such as the dunnock, northern harrier and, with luck, the grey partridge can be seen.
  2. After arriving at the base of the Tres Bispos peak (1), the route ascends along a footpath. This stretch is good for watching red-billed chough.
  3. At the summit (2), with a little patience other corvids such as the common raven can be seen, along with raptors such as the northern harrier, griffon vulture and common kestrel and small birds such as the water pipit.

"Perdix" route on foot

BEST TIME

From April to September

DISTANCE

25 km

DURATION

10 hours, full day

DIFFICULTY

High

COUNCILS

Cervantes

PATH

Club Ancares mountain inn, Campa de Brego and climb up Penarrubia peak

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Key points on the route:

The full itinerary should only be undertaken if you are in good physical condition and have mountain experience

  1. From the inn, head to the depths of the Cabanavella forest (1), where it is possible to find interesting forest birds, including most notably the black woodpecker, which is difficult to see by easy to find due to its song. Early in the morning the elusive eurasian woodcock can also be found.
  2. After reaching the Campa de Brego (2), where there is a rudimentary shelter, climb to the Penarrubia peak by again crossing through a wooded area (3).
  3. When on the rope (4) and until the peak (5) is reached, red-billed choughs, raptors such as the common kestrel, european honey buzzard, northern harrier and, occasionally, the golden eagle can be seen. Be attentive to the flocks of partridges since, with some luck, a grey partridge can be seen

"Citrinella" route on foot

BEST TIME

From April to September

DISTANCE

13 km round trip

DURATION

5-6 hours

DIFFICULTY

High

COUNCILS

Cervantes

PATH

From Piornedo to the Mostallar peak

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Key points on the route:

  1. The surroundings of Piornedo (1) are a good place to see birds linked to agricultural environments, such as swallows, house martins and red-backed shrikes.
  2. Shortly after passing by the village church (2), the route enters an area with pastures and scrubland where yellowhammer can be seen.
  3. It continues along the beautiful valley that leads to the base of the mountain (3), where scrubland birds such as dunnock and even forest birds such as the eurasian nuthatch can be found in wooded areas.
  4. From the base of the mountain to the summit (4), be attentive to birds of prey: golden eagles, short-toed snake eagles and griffon vultures can be seen. At the summit there are often northern raven and water pipit.
The birds

Being a mountain area, bird watching is difficult in autumn and especially in winter. However, for the rest of the year numerous species associated with the forest can be found, including notably the black woodpecker and eurasian woodcock. The most interesting of the species typical to the scrub are the grey partridge and northern harrier. Throughout, numerous species of birds of prey such as the short-toed snake eagle, booted eagle and even lesser kestrel can be found, particularly in late summer in the pastures of the hills. In the not very abundant rocky cliffs there are cliff species such as the rufous-tailed rock thrush, peregrine falcon and northern raven, which is also very present in summits along with red-billed chough and water pipit.

Tips and resources
  • It is very important to remember that you are in a mountain area and so should not go on treks on foot, especially ascents, unless you are in good physical shape and have experience in the environment. Also pay attention to the weather forecast

  • The roads are narrow and winding, and therefore require careful driving. In autumn and winter, conditions can be dangerous or even make the routes impracticable

  • Forests and other habitats are sensitive, never roam off the marked paths and roads.

  • It is common on trips to find cattle, which is the livelihood of many people; do not bother it and give it the right-of-way. 

Arriba