The valley of red soils and mediaeval villages.
The impressive natural lookout point of La Torreta de l’Orri presides over the Vall de Siarb, a valley with extensive mountain and Scots pine forests and such unique spots as Les Comes de Rubió. The red soils of El Cantó alongside the green of the meadows offer a contrast of colours that is greatly enhanced in autumn. The red houses of Rubió and Llagunes are an example of how the materials from the area have been used to build and give their own personality to these small, charming villages.
The history of this region is manifested in places such as Vilamur, a walled town and capital of an old viscounty with a mediaeval quarter full of interesting details. However, you will find the maximum exponent of the valley’s past at Santa Creu de Llagunes, the impressive remains of a mediaeval village with a history dating back more.
BEAR IN MIND
• There is a geocaching activity around Llagunes to help you enjoy the valley’s landscape.
• The Vall de Siarb Popular Walk is held on the last Sunday in May.
• An excellent time to enjoy the Siarb Valley is in autumn with all the colours that fill the scenery with contrasts.
• At El Cantó pass you can often observe large birds of prey circling. With the help of binoculars, you may be able to identify the four European vulture species: the bearded vulture, the griffon vulture, the black vulture and the Egyptian vulture.
• Despite its modest altitude, La Torreta de l’Orri or Pic de l’Orri (2,439 metres) is a first-class natural lookout point with impressive views over the Catalan Pyrenees.
• The subalpine mountain pine and Scots pine forests of this valley are home to a rich and varied fauna with species such as deer, roe deer and the mythical capercaillie.
• The geology of El Cantó. The red soils we see at El Cantó are conglomerates of sandstone, clay or muds of fluvial origin, the result of the erosion of the ancient Hercynian mountains. Another geological peculiarity of this area is the overlap plain of the Freixa Mountains, where the calcareous materials can be see above the red materials of the Triassic, which are older and harbour vestiges of the first reptiles that populated the Earth.
• The small populated villages of Vilamur, Llagunes, Tornafort and Rubió are worth a visit for the singular vestiges of their mediaeval past and the extraordinary scenery that surrounds them. Rubió, at an altitude of 1,687 metres, is the highest village in Catalonia.
• Les Comes de Rubió. A captivating setting of subalpine meadows and mountain streams surrounded by extensive mountain pine woods. At its heart is Les Comes de Rubió refuge, an ideal base from which to enjoy the surrounding nature with the whole family.
• Santa Creu de Llagunes. With thousands of years of history, the remains of this fortified site dating back to 1500 BC help us understand how its inhabitants lived from the Iberian period to the Middle Ages. It is the “Empuries” of the High Pyrenees Natural Park and can only be visited with a guide.
• The Bunkers of Vilamur. The bunkers and machine gun nests built on the Pallars front by the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War. These are some of the best-preserved remains from the civil conflict that can be visited in the Pyrenees.
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