El Torcal de Antequera nature reserve
Country - Spain
Region - Malaga Province (Andalucia)
Author - Lou Johnson
Time - 1.50 hours
The nature reserve of El Torcal de Antequera is located in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range south of the city of Antequera in Malaga province. To reach the reserve, take the A45 road to Malaga south from Antequera. The reserve can be reached from the main road by a tarmac link road which leads to the parking area and information boards. Arriving from the Antequera direction the turnoff is before reaching the village of Villanueva de la Concepción.
The reserve protects one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. Karst landscapes are those shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of rock by water. The rock is usually limestone or dolomite. However, some distinctive karst features are formed where some layers are less soluble than others. Some areas of the reserve are more dramatic than others. However the walk does allow you to walk in close proximity to the spectacular formations.
This area sees very high temperatures in summer so visits are most common at other times of the year. In mid-winter it does not get light until after 0900hrs and on the day of this visit no one else was seen in the reserve. There are three possible walks - the longest is for 4.5km with alternatives of 3km and 1.5 km. Do be careful as in the early morning the limestone can be damp and slippery. There are also a number of places where you need to be fairly nimble. The route is colour coded and there is a one way system with walkers going anti-clockwise around the circular path.
During your walk you are likely to see some wildlife. On my visit there was a large herd of Spanish Ibex. The males with their large horns are very impressive beasts. Rather more mundane were the local farmer's black cows!
French IGN mapping is available in digital format by area and 'cut your own' maps. For more information and availabilty go to the Anquet website.
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