Sierra Pelada y Rio del Aserrador Natural Area

Sierra Pelada y Rivera del Aserrador Natural Area

The Paraje Natural Sierra Pelada y Rivera del Aserrador is the third largest protected area in Huelva Province. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Morena close to the Portuguese border, it covers 12 sq km of wooded hills south of Aroche and is also just south of the Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche. The paraje natural is outstanding due to its remoteness and the fact that it is virtually uninhabited. In 1990 it was designated a Special Protection Zone for Birds (ZEPA).

There is a spectacular granite outcrop, called the Piedras del Diablo (Devil's Rocks), which is located in the centre of the Sierra Pelada. Other geological features are slate and quartzite rocks. The Sierra's highest point is the Pelada peak, at 654m.

It is difficult explore the Sierra Pelada because there are few tracks. The H9002, a dirt track that is generally driveable but poor in places, leads southwest out of Aroche to El Mustio and skirts around the northwestern edge of the Sierra. There is a rough track to the south, from the village of San Telmo, which links up with a track to El Mustio, but this is in worse condition than the H9002. There are a few footpaths that lead to the eastern edge of the park, see walks.

The woodland is made up mainly of cork and holm oaks. Between the woodland areas is cistus scrub. In the west and south are eucalyptus plantantions.

Due to its isolation from roads and villages, the Sierra Pelada is incredibly rich in wildlife. The many rivers of the Sierra Pelada are inhabited by otters. Other mammals are wildcats, mongoose and wild boar. One of Andalucía's largest colonies of black vultures is here, as well as many other birds of prey including golden and booted eagles. You can also spot black storks and owls.

There are numerous rivers and streams dissecting the Sierra. The main river is the Arroyo del Aserrador in the western arm of the park. Two other main rivers are the Rivera de Alcalaboza, which runs along the northern edge of the Sierra, and the Rivera de la Panera to the south. There is also a small lake, the Dique de Santa Bárbara, on the southern edge.

There are no waymarked walks within the Sierra Pelada, although it does have some tracks. You can walk from either Almonaster La Real or Cortegana on signposted walks that take you to the edge of the Sierra. For superb panoramic views of the Sierra, take the footpath that leads to the peak of La Caba (737m). To get to it, leave the tiny village of Veredas outside Almonaster on the H1121 towards Cortegana. About 2km later, take a left down the footpath that follows the Cumbres de Timones for about 5km, until you get to La Caba.

The Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y los Picos de Aroche in the Cabildo Viejo, Aracena (959 128 825) can provide a map of the Sierra de Aracena, which includes the Sierra Pelada.

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