Sierra Morena covers an area that only a poet could put its hidden spirit in plain words. Sierra Morena is not only bandits and untamed penitents like Don Quijote came across, but ordinary people who love the land where they live and care for it, loo
Visitors in search of hustle, bustle, noise, haste, quick fixes, will not enjoy the many experiences of the journey. There are good communications, accommodation and restaurants, lots of well-prepared, signposted routes, balconies and a long distance walking route (GR 48) that forms the backbone of the whole area in all the provinces. It is a paradise for nature lovers, bird watchers, sports-persons, star gazers or simply foodies looking for new sensations.
Sierra Morena comprises 57 municipalities in the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba,
Seville and Huelva, all within the Sierra Morena geographic region.
It has a population of 186 085 inhabitants (2013 census), only 2% of the total population of Andalucía although Sierra Morena occupies 13% of its total area. With low density of the population ranging from 9 inhabitants per square kilometre in the Sierra Morena in the province of Córdoba to 35 inhabitants per square kilometre in the North of the province of Jaén, well below the average in Andalucía of 80 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Their commitment with the environment is certified by the model of sustainable development the villages have opted for, with the “Q” for quality tourism mark that many of the local businesses have obtained and because of the confidence of buying products that are certified by the Brand “Parque Natural de Andalucía”.
In this sense it is worth mentioning that the Nature Parks of Sierra de Andújar,
Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro, Sierra de Hornachuelos, Sierra Norte de Sevilla and Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche have achieved the “EU Charter for Sustainable Tourism” which aims at providing methods for applying principles of sustainable tourism, guidelines for the people and the businesses managing these areas so they can set up tenable strategies and actions collectively.
The Sierra Morena landscape is like a continuous patch dominated by a succession of mountains and valleys. The mountains are mainly medium to low, with some higher peaks with contrasting ravines that provide a rugged note to the predominantly gentle slopes. The valleys are low and long, corresponding to the characteristics of the rivers, except in the most western sector where a central valley has been formed cutting through the mountains.
The economy is based on farming: livestock, forestry, agriculture and hunting are the mainstay of the economy in the area and most cases don’t have a single activity but a combination of them all.
The meadows make up an important component of the landscape and black Iberian pigs (of delicious “pata negra” hams), bulls, cows and sheep graze free range here.
The forests provide cork, honey and produce from the pine trees. Olive groves dominate the landscape and cover the gentle slopes; they provide excellent olive oil although with a low yield.
In total the Nature Parks cover an area of approximately 528.631 hectares. Part of the area makes up the “Meadows of Sierra Morena” Reserve of the Biosphere. They are protected nature areas with an enormous wealth of flora that is of great botanical interest the same as the fauna.
There are reservoirs and rivers in many of the Parks that cut through the areas providing the opportunity for adventure holidays and other activities. With regard to the different fauna, we can mention the existence of small species like rabbits, foxes, genets; even some species in danger of extinction like the Iberian lynx and the wolf. There are also interesting species for bird lovers like goshawks, sparrow-hawks, imperial eagles, golden eagles, Bonillo’s eagles, eagle owls, black vultures, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, black storks, etc.
These are places that have a wealth of large game like deer, wild boar, fallow and roe deer.
There are also beautiful places and rich landscapes that include the Cimbarra Waterfall Nature Park, in the municipality of Aldeaquemada with an area of 534 hectares. Also the Peñas de Aroche and Sierra Pelada and the Rivera del Aserrador, also listed and protected as Nature Areas (Parajes Naturales), with an area of 718 hectares and 12.980 hectares respectively, both situated to the south east of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche district between the municipalities of Almonaster la Real, Aroche, Cortegana and Rosal de la Frontera.
The Natural Landscape Monuments in Sierra Morena are also a great attraction: the Organ Pipes of Despeñaperros in Santa Elena, El Cerro del
Hierro rock forms in San Nicolás del Puerto and Constantina. The Huéznar waterfall also in San Nicolas del Puerto, Encina de la Dehesa de San Francisco holm oak forest in Santa Olalla del Cala and the loop in the river Guadalquivir at Montoro.