A vast protected area of native Mediterranean woodland located in Andalucia, Los Alcornocales is one of the most extensive cork forests in the world. A beautiful route we discoverd through the forest was a singletrack mountain road which leaves the A373 south to El Colmenar meandering through the gnarled and ancient cork-oak groves. The barks are still harvested for cork and those most recently stripped look strangely naked with their russet interiors exposed. Griffon vultures crouched in the canopy while Golden Eagles circled above in the autumn thermals. As we climbed higher, the cork-oaks gave way to conifers and most unexpectedly, cows foraging among the giant pine cones which covered the forest floor. Descending into El Colmenar that evening we dined on wonderful forest fare – wild mushrooms, venison in wine and a hearty rabbit stew – at the Caserio Ananda, a gem of a restaurant situated on the local station platform.
For accommodation in the area and in nearby Gaucin: www.cvtravel.co.uk
Caserio Ananda: www.caserioananda.com
Estación de Gaucín s/n 29490 El Colmenar
+34 636 136 924
Google map: bit.ly/XhbjBs
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