A mosaic of woods, stone shepherds’ huts and extensive pastures.
The Santa Magdalena Valley is a large, practically unpopulated valley dominated by extensive pine and fir woods, with some areas of centenarian trees. You will be surprised by the unique landscape moulded by pastoral stockbreeding, with its extensive pastures and areas of stone shepherds’ huts, such as those of Conflent, Bedet, Tressó and Civís. All these areas of stone shepherds’ huts, pastures and mown meadows speak to us of centuries of life based on the mountain stockbreeding economy.
Accessible from El Pallars Sobirà and L’Alt Urgell, the small villages that act as the gateway to the Santa Magdalena Valley have an impressive historical heritage that, together with an exceptional natural environment, delight all those who visit them.
BEAR IN MIND
• Respect the signposting and drive at a maximum speed of 30 km/h on the unregulated forest tracks. Remember that an off-road vehicle is necessary and if you do not have one, 4x4 taxis are available.
• If you would like to enjoy the valley with your off-road vehicle, take advantage of the good weather. In winter the tracks may be impassable. In any event, you should ask for information about their state before setting off on any journey.
• Forests. The mountain pine, Scots pine and fir groves, such as those we find in the Santa Magdalena Valley, are the most common types of woodland in the Natural Park and they are the principal habitat of many different animal species.
• Stone shepherds’ huts and stockbreeding areas. When you see the countryside around Civís, with its mown meadows and stone shepherds’ huts, you can understand how human activity has shaped and instilled a strong personality in this beautiful spot. Other outstanding examples of stockbreeding areas are the stone shepherds’ huts of Conflent, Jussà, Bedet and Tressó, as well as Ras de Conques with its extensive pastures. They make this a unique natural area.
• The pubescent birch groves in Bedet and the mountain ash woods in the shady area of Ós de Civís are unique woods and very unusual in Catalonia. In autumn, they are decked out with magnificent colours.
• The proximity of this territory to the Andorran border led Franco to have it fortified to prevent an allied or maquis invasion. You can see part of these defences when you visit the bunkers of Collada de Conflent and Coll d’Ares.
• Small inhabited villages. In addition to admiring the traditional mountain architecture (beamed roofs, wooden doors and balconies, slate tile roofs and stone walls), a visit to the villages of Ars, Civís and Os de Civís in Alt Urgell and Burg and Farrera in Pallars Sobirà will delight you with the countryside that surrounds them. They are also the starting point for various signposted itineraries.
• Numerous legends are associated with the small chapel of Santa Magdalena de la Ribalera. It is the symbol of the valley and its singular beauty is not to be missed.
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