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Montegrande Hayedo

Montegrande Hayedo

The most privileged forest

Updated on 19 February 2024
Montegrande Hayedo

The most privileged forest

Bucolic place to forget everything and let yourself be carried away by your senses. A real shock of nature in its purest form: beauty and biodiversity throughout more than 15 square kilometers of forest. The Montegrande beech forest is, without a doubt, one of the most precious natural jewels of Asturias and one of the largest Cantabrian forests.

Before belonging to the Teverga council, this area was an independent territory whose name says it all: El Privilegio.

Photographs: © Roberto Molero on Flickr



Latitude: 43.0851898 Length: -6.0447121
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This is the third forest area in Asturias after the Muniellos and Peloño forests. Occupy more than 1.500 hectares of the Central Mountain of Asturias, specifically the Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Natural Park, a Biosphere Reserve that totals 42.000 hectares. On the border with Leonese lands, the Peña Ubiña massif is the highest mountain system in Asturias after the Picos de Europa, with altitudes greater than 2.400 meters.

Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Natural Park

Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Natural Park

Is a magnificent mountain territory with a relief of strong contrasts, located in the…

Montegrande Hayedo

How to get to the Montegrande beech forest

It is easy to get to it, as it is located about 60 kilometers from Oviedo, less than an hour by car from the center of Asturias, adjacent to the well-paved Puerto de Ventana road: AS-228. The road goes through some wooded area, there is even a large parking lot at the foot of the beech forest. Parking like the one we found once we passed the town of Páramo, in the direction of Braña de la Puerca, on a nearby detour to the right.

Excursions through the Montegrande beech forest

One of the best ways to enjoy Montegrande is through its different trails. The most comfortable and popular is the educational itinerary of low difficulty that goes into its interior from the aforementioned parking lot. The route is practically flat and easy to walk, it also has an initial half-kilometer section adapted for people with disabilities. It then extends about 3 kilometers but we can extend it one more kilometer, following the bed of the La Verde River, until reaching the extraordinary Xiblu waterfall. A 100 meter long waterfall that is undoubtedly the most visited place in the beech forest.

Montegrande Hayedo

Route to the Xiblu waterfall

Route to the Xiblu waterfall

Mountains always in sight, forest everywhere, ancient beech trees with intricate roots, fauna that ...

There are several hiking routes that will allow you to explore the forest in depth and discover all its secrets. Shortly before the aforementioned Xiblu waterfall there is the possibility of taking a signposted path to the right towards the beautiful Braña de Las Navariegas, uphill, or towards the town of Focella (Foceicha or Foceya), downhill, through the small route marked PR AS-156.

The Navariegas braña is perhaps one of the oldest brañas in the Principality, of enormous ethnographic value, captivating with its pastoral huts and its circular circles of fortified architecture, buildings where the shepherds and even the cattle slept to be safe from the wolf. and other danger. From this braña we can continue expanding the itinerary and ascend to the Navariegas Hill, a fabulous promontory from which, in addition to the forest itself and many other places, we can clearly see the Fontanes and Peña Ubiña, the Asturian peaks of Somiedo and the Leonese peaks of Babia.

Without leaving the Hayedo de Montegrande, and very close to the parking lot, you can visit another braña, the Braña of the Chains, in just 4 kilometers of total travel, round trip.

Montegrande and its biodiversity

The educational itinerary that we mentioned above and which is the most appropriate route to start in the forest, has signs alluding to the flora and fauna of the place.

Thus we can come to know that in the forest of Montegrande ancient beech trees are the dominant species, spreading everywhere. Although we also find in its foliage oaks, hollies and one of the most notable patches of birch in the Principality. To a lesser extent, rowan and yew trees.

The forest changes its appearance with each season, and in each of them it offers reasons to visit it. Autumn gives it a twilight and warm aspect, nostalgic at the same time; Spring is the time of light, exuberance and gushing water in waterfalls. The excellent air quality, humidity and large shaded areas favor walks during the summer. In winter, although sad and ghostly in appearance, its beauty comes from its snowy surroundings. In addition to all this, there may be the fog on any date, which will turn the tour into something even more magical.

At ground level, the Ferns, lovers of darkness, who reach large sizes in this shady forest. In some areas of the undergrowth the blueberry bushes, whose fruits are especially appreciated by the grizzly. Other common mammals are deer, roe deer, chamois, wild boars and wolves, while vultures, eagles and goshawks cross the sky. If we pay attention we can distinguish blackbirds, tits or tits on the branches of the trees. Nuthatches and treecreepers on the trunks. And with a little more luck we can hear the drumming of the black whistle and even see a legendary capercaillie, currently in danger of extinction.

A Little History

The Montegrande beech forest is located south of the council of Teverga, in the heart of the Cantabrian Mountains. The area in which it is located is known as the privilege, and once it was an independent council made up of the towns of Páramo, Focella and Villa de Sub.

The privilege name is because In 1033, King Bermudo II ordered that anyone born in this territory (unlike neighboring lands) would be considered free and noble.. The reason for this privilege? Well, a false accusation of treason against the original owner of these lands, Pelayo Froilaz . Accusation for which his properties were confiscated and he was unjustly imprisoned. Quite a slander that the king wanted to amend in time with this "administrative" concession and the privilege of nobility for all his descendants.

It was in 1827 when the Privilege was annexed to Teverga, but not without the inhabitants of the council putting up resistance.

Today The true Privilege is to be able to feel freer (and nobler) in such a beautiful forest.

Information:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for walking in the forest.
  • Don't forget the camera.
  • It is important to check the weather forecast before taking the excursion.
  • Carry a raincoat in your backpack.
  • Respect the environment and do not leave your garbage in the forest.

© Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com
Photographs: © Roberto Molero on Flickr