A vast mosaics of landscapes, history and customs
The mountain region of Sierra Espuña is one of the most accessible in Murcia.
The Sierra Espuña Regional Reserve is located in the central part of the Murcia region, between the districts of Alhama de Murcia, Totana and Mula. It is an area full of contrasts, where visitors will find everything from forests, steppes and high-mountain scenery; to rivers and reservoirs, and dry or irrigated agricultural areas... It has an average altitude of around 800 metres, and reaches a maximum height of 1,583 metres. The uneven relief of the Sierra Espuña range is precisely one of its main attractions, as this is what gives it its unique and imposing landscapes such as the Paredes de Leyva cliff faces, the Cuchillos de El Bosque, the Muela plateau, and the ravines of Gebas or la Hoz. Another curious feature is the Pozos de Nieve, or snow pits, whose origins date from the 16th century, and which are located at an altitude of 1,300 metres. These are 26 large circular holes dug out of the ground which once served as refrigerators. Every winter, teams of workers stored the snow inside them so that in spring the bars of ice could be used in cities throughout the area.
What you need to know
As well as the snow pits, there is also an interesting monumental and archaeological heritage to be found in some of the towns throughout the region, such as the Roman baths in Alhama de Murcia, la Calahorra de Aledo and the “Los Villaricos” site in Mula.
Sierra Espuña is home to almost one thousand different plant species, over a third of the flora to be found in the region. Typical species include the Aleppo pine and various types of juniper. The local fauna includes 185 recorded species, among which are curious endemic species such as the Espuña squirrel. There are also significant numbers of birds of prey such as eagle owls, peregrine falcons, goshawks and golden eagles.
Information for visits
Visitors can find information on the Sierra Espuña area and about the activities and guided routes on offer at the “Ricardo Codorníu” Visitor Centre near Huerta Espuña-Fuente del Hilo.