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!
 

Home of the bear, wolf and grouse

Os Ancares

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.

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.

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It is recommended to walk calmly through the woods while we pay utmost attention so as to capture all the sensations this wood has to offer. Who knows, we may even hear the call of the male grouse trying to charm a female.

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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An Ancestral Woodland

Fraga da Marronda

In the highlands of the municipality of Baleira in Lugo province you will find an exceptional woodland where the beech trees are the most westerly to be found in Europe. The changing seasons take us on a journey from the golden hues of autumn to the bare, muted palette of winter and the bright green of spring that streams through to the heart of the woods.

Human beings have adapted to this mountainous, wooded environment by merging with it, following the course of a marked route, discovering its landmarks: bridges, mills, hórreos (small raised granaries) and other constructions. Our route will take us to the source of the River Eo, which opens the way to Cantábria through the mountains and these centuries-old woods.

The ever-changing light and colours invite us to explore these routes once more, discovering new sights along the way.

Route of A Fraga da Marronda
Starting pointRoute typeKmEstimated time requiredTerrain difficultyOrientation difficulty
Área Recreativa A Cortevella (Baleira)Linear20 (there and back)5 h 30 min.MediumLow
PROFILE: Occasional walkers

The woods of Marronda are famous for being the birthplace of the River Eo. They offer a perfectly signposted route, the first half of which takes us into woodland with a colossal canopy fringing the river and its tributaries. ur proposed route will allow you to get to know this fraga or mixed woodland, starting at the A Cortevella recreational area.

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All the typical trees of this mixed woodland or fraga can be found here: oak, birch, chestnut, rowan, holly and hazel trees. There are noteworthy colonies of beech trees that give this woodland area its distinct personality.

Since it can be difficult to reach this point, here are some instructions on how to get there. In O Cádavo-Baleira you should take the main road in the direction of Meira. You will find Fonteo on the way, and it is worth taking this brief detour to visit the source of the River Eo, close to the verge of the road itself. From Fonteo you should continue on to A Muíña, where you will find a turning on the right leading to Martín on a spectacular road among leafy woods peppered with small villages. As you leave Martín, look out for a right-hand turning signposted A Cortevella.

Take this turning to reach the start of a route full of surprises that never fails to impress visitors. And here you can take a breather: you’ve finally arrived at your starting point! The route will be a simple one, since our recommendation belongs to the approved PR-G 145 trail, which is very well signposted, indicating the route to follow upstream.   

In the heart of the woods there are many signs of human presence. Apart from the abandoned houses and hórreos (small raised granaries) in the area of Cabreira, 6.8 km from A Cortevella, there are bridges, drying houses and the odd mill, which appear on the route every now and then to remind us that these paths were created by people who made their living in the woods. We suggest that at this point you turn around and work back to the starting point, although if you have the energy and enthusiasm to continue discovering the beautiful landscapes of this area, you always have the option of completing the whole PR-G 145 route.

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The enchanted woods

Cruzul and Agüeira

To the east: the holm oaks of Cruzul. To the west, the soutos or chestnut woods of Agüeira. A journey through the natural history of Galicia.

It’s rare to find a holm oak in the heart of Galicia’s wetlands. But they can be found here. And the holm oak woods of Cruzul are one of these exceptions. Dense and brightly coloured, once inside you really can't see the woods for the trees! Moss and lichens decorate the tree trunks, in case we should forget that we’re in Galicia. There are no pastures here, no black Ibérico pigs. Cruzul is an enchanted wood, and what you will find here are little owls, barn owls, toads and meigas – witches!

In areas populated by chestnut trees, legend has it that these great trees have healing powers. They provide a remedy for gout and rheumatism, sadness, stomach pain… And if you're in need of a pick-me-up, try chestnut pollen, an invigorating cure-all. For many years, the soutos saved the local people from hunger. And these landscapes tell the tale. There are paths and roads that lead us through the woods to gather their chestnuts and observe their carved trunks, shaped by many years of pruning.

And where man has not been at work there are tall, straight chestnut trees that stretch up to seek the light on the shady slopes. Those that are slim and tall are the natural children of the woodland, while the wide, worked trunks show the signs of their partnership with man.
 

Cruzul Route
Starting pointRoute typeKmEstimated time requiredTerrain difficultyOrientation difficulty
Morcelle (Becerreá)Linear2 (there and back)1 hLowMedium-Low
PROFILE: All walkers
Agüeira Route
Starting pointRoute typeKmEstimated time requiredTerrain difficultyOrientation difficulty
Cormes (Becerreá)Linear3 (there and back)2 hLowMedium-Low
PROFILE: All walkers

Before starting out, you should know that there are no signposted routes in these two areas, meaning that you should pay special attention to the map and directions. Moreover, in some places you will have to decide how far to venture into the woods and we recommend that you are cautious, enjoying the unique beauty of this environment unhurriedly. We have designed these routes so that you can access the woods with the greatest ease, but if you want something more, don’t forget that you can always contact nature guides who can help you to enjoy the area without running any risks.

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The round trip will be easy but intense!

One of the best ways of getting to know these two jewels of nature is to follow a path that begins just before you reach the village of Morcelle, a few kilometres from Becerreá. But pay attention! You need to spot a sign that indicates the entrance to a mine in order to find our starting point on this route. That is where you can leave your vehicle in order to enter the holm oak woods of Cruzul. The map is easy to follow, and the route down to access the woods is also easy to identify.

Once you are in the middle of the woods, you will have to decide for yourselves – depending on your experience of similar environments – how far you wish to go into the woods. Take into account that you will come across uneven ground, steep slopes, and slippery lichens that can take you by surprise.

To complete your experience, behind Cruzul, the Souto de Agüeira awaits you. The path that will lead you there can be found in the pretty village of Cormes, following the same main road from Morcelle.  If you feel like it and you’re up to it, you can actually get to the route on foot: the road is not busy and it offers beautiful views of los Ancares. In Cormes, take a moment to admire the fountains that adorn the simple but beautiful main street of the village. You might also take the opportunity to visit the Chapel of Santo Estevo and the casa Boado. This time, you will use the last fountain as your reference point: there you will see a sign that indicates the road to Ferrería. Follow this road to reach the centre of the woods, eventually reaching the old N-VI road.

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The most beatiful woods of all

Devesa da Rogueira

The Sierra de O Courel is a vast nature reserve.  Its valleys and mountains are home to the most diverse vegetation in Galicia. And it is here that we will find our most beautiful woodland: the Devesa da Rogueira.

Beech groves and yew blend with oak, rowan, maple, chestnut… This is a paradise for all botanists and nature lovers. The paths that cross this space treats all visitors to a varied palette of lively colours. To enter into these woods is a fascinating, enchanted experience. The green canopy that shelters us climbs up the slopes of the mountain to reach a glacial lake offering splendid views. One step more and we reach the Formigueiros Peak. We are in the heavens.

The possibilities offered by this wood are infinite, and they grant us a unique experience.
 

Devesa da Rogueira Route
Starting pointRoute typeKmEstimated time requiredTerrain difficultyOrientation difficulty
Alto do Couto (Folgoso do Courel)Linear8,8 (there and back)3 h 15 min.MediumMedium
PROFILE: Occasional walkers

We propose one of the best routes to get to know these stunning woodlands. We are in luck this time, because we have at our disposal the “aula de naturaleza” or “nature classroom” of Moreda in Seoane do Caurel, which you can use as the starting point for your route. Map checking, gaining your bearings, and gathering interesting information are always useful activities when setting off to discover a new space

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The walk will seem short, and once you get back to the top of O Couto you will find that you are already thinking of coming back. That's because O Caurel is always full of surprises – even if you a thousand times!

Would you prefer to take a simpler route? Perhaps that long uphill stretch is not what you had in mind? Well then, there is a trick that will make your lives easier: the top of O Couto is situated at 1,311 m, on the main road linking Seoane to Visuña. There is a route that goes into the woods that begins almost at the peak. It is a long path that is punctuated by views of the whole valley alternating with views of the woods and their magical nooks and crannies, occupied by beautiful old trees and criss-crossed with lively brooks and waterfalls. This route will also take you to the Fontes do Cervo, but this way you will arrive a little more rested! From the fountains you will go on to cross the meadow by the only path in sight, which will take you to the Polín viewpoint where you can once more take a breather and absorb the marvellous views before heading back to our starting point.

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