Ordesa National Park

Ordesa is a spectacular glaciated limestone site in the Aragonese Pyrenees, which together with the Picos de Europa is the oldest nature reserve in Spain (1918). The reserve comprises of four valleys: Ordesa, Añisclo, Escuain, and Pineta. Monte Perdido stands at 3,335 m, the third highest peak in the Pyrenees. See also The legend of Monte Perdido

Information adapted from UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Directory

The Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park and the Viñamala Hunting Reserve: consists of the Ordesa Valley, a canyon with vertical walls, being the result of successive glaciations during the Quaternary period, and the valley of the Arazas River, confluent with the Ara River, with a large number of waterfalls. The massif of Monte Perdido and the heads of the valleys of Ordesa, Añisclo, Escuain, and Pineta are also included in the Park. Viñamala is mountainous with an imposing massif subsequently modified by glacial action. It is covered with distinct types of woodlands, from mixed woodland with Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) to Black pine (Pinus uncinata) woodland in the highland meadows. Sanctuary for wild animals 32 different species of mammals, 65 of birds, 8 of reptiles, 3 of fish and six of amphibians ( pyrenean chamois, marmot, lammergeyer, stoat, pyrenean lizard, Pyrenean frog, brown trout ). Ordesa-Viñamala contains twenty-seven habitats of interest in Europe.The reserve is situated in a remote part of Spain in central Pyrenees where the people conserve a vivid folklore tradition. More than 3,000 inhabitants (1998) live in the surroundings of the biosphere reserve in the Comarca de Sobrarbe and the Comarca de Alto Gallego municipalities, mainly engaged in tourism and small-scale industry. The area has been settled for hundreds of years with cattle and sheep farming providing the principal means of income. More than 700,000 tourists (2000) visit the reserve annually.

Major habitats & land cover types Mountain habitats; mixed woodland consisting of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and conifers such as Pinus sylvestris; black mountain pine (Pinus uncinata) woodland; sub-alpine and alpine habitats; highland meadows; rivers; agroecosystems

Around the web

Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (Wildide Holidays) Iberianature forum partner WH have this thorough piece on the park

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (Wikipedia).

Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido Good summary on fauna and flora of Ordesa from Wildside Holidays “This is an area of dramatic landscape, overseen by the peak of Monte Perdido at 3,355m, found within the Pyrenean mountain range that forms the border between Spain and France.”

I thought this personal desciption was rather good:

“Ordesa is magnificent enough when the sun is shining but absolutely awe-inspiring during a thunderstorm. I’ve been caught in several of them, for even during the summer months there’s always a good chance of rain in the high Pyrenees. I remember one particularly violent downpour when it seemed that we were being treated to a replay of Noah’s flood: it was early July, but the skies opened up, water descended in sheets and hailstones ricocheted from my hat. All of this was pleasant enough at the end of a hot day, but then a mist began moving up the valley and as the rain continued to fall, great cascades of dirty yellow water came pouring off the rock walls, dislodging a shower of small stones that bounced and splashed their way into the valley. It made me think of the medieval Aragonese mountain-dwellers, fighting off invading armies of lowlanders by pelting them with rocks. Read

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