In the heart of Castile-La Mancha
Since 1980, Tablas de Daimiel National Park, Lagunas de Ruidera Nature Reserve and the transitional zone between these protected spaces have formed a World Biosphere Reserve. In 2014, UNESCO extended the protected space so that 'La Mancha Húmeda' now covers an area of more than 400,000 hectares.
This World Biosphere Reserve in the heart of Castile-La Mancha is based around the two protected spaces of Tablas de Daimiel and Lagunas de Ruidera. Both of these spaces are also Special Bird Protection Areas (SPAs) and Wetlands of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention. Tablas de Daimiel is formed by flooded areas between the courses of the rivers Guadiana and Cigüela, making a perfect habitat for a great number of waterfowl. Some islands protrude (Pan, Algeciras, Amos, etc) surrounded by lakeside and aquatic vegetation, such as reed grass, reeds and bulrush. The only trees are tamarisks. Grebes, ducks, herons and kestrels are among the many species that live in this environment, along with weasels, otters and numerous amphibians. Lagunas de Ruidera is in the upper Guadiana valley. This set of natural dams has an interesting plant community and a multitude of birds, including water fowl. These aquatic formations, connected to each other by waterfalls and underground seepage, create an environment of outstanding natural beauty. In their surrounding areas, there are Holm oaks and Spanish Junipers, and elms and poplars appear as the wetness increases. The lakes are surrounded by common reed grass, reeds, bulrushes and saw-sedge. Ducks, coots and teal form the main ornithological community in the wetland, while the Mediterranean forest area is inhabited by rabbits, pigeons, partridges and foxes. Carp are the most common fish.
What you need to know
These interesting environmental areas of Castile-La Mancha also have villages with traditional farmhouses. Almagro, Valdepeñas, Villanueva de los Infantes, Ossa de Montiel and Alcázar de San Juan are all well worth visiting.
La Mancha Húmeda, the main continental wetland on the Iberian peninsula, is the habitat of a variety of seasonal and sedentary birdlife.
Information for visits
Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park. From Ciudad Real take the N-420 road, and from Manzanares the N-430, towards Daimiel. 11 kilometres from Daimiel, an asphalted track will take you to the Las Tablas de Daimiel Information Centre. How to get to Lagunas de Ruidera. From Ciudad Real: go to Manzanares on the N-IV road. From there take the N-430, passing through Membrilla, La Solana, Alambra and Ruidera. From Albacete: take the N-430 road, passing through Barrax, Munera, Sotuélamos, Ossa de Montiel and Ruidera