Piedrahita and Nogueta Valley
Piedrahita is located close to the brook called la Cañada that, towards the one called Pradomedio, both drain a wide area at the foot of the Oriche mountain range. At the foothill several hillsides are occupied by dense crop terraces that have partially transformed an old and irregular landscape. The fusion of both brooks aforementioned originate the Nogueta river, part of the Aguasvivas network. The ravines have shaped deep incisions that have turned into canyons at the time the Nogueta Valley gets into the ranges of the north of Piedrahita.
In a landscape full of meadows and creeping shrubs, stand above some dispersed specimen of holm oaks, junipers and “guillomos”. At every river course you can find a forest mixed of riverside woodland with great trees.
It is noteworthy the presence of an interesting cave, and a crag known as “Piedra Peñalba”, which was home to eagles and today you can observe vultures and other species, in whose surroundings reafforestation have been carried out.
The Nogueta Valley stretches from the old town of Piedrahita, becoming a first-class natural area. The Nogueta River is a stream that flows through the bottom of an enclosed valley which is located in the middle of the Oriche mountain range. Its riverbed is about 2 metres deep, with some straits where have formed limestone crusts. In the neared mountains you can see the great contrast between the limestone rocks (from the Secondary era) and the slates and quartzites (from the Primary era). As they are erosion-resistant rocks, they are in the higher parts of the hills. In the surfaces of the slates and some limestone rocks are plentiful brachiopod fossils (marine animals similar to the bivalve molluscs). It can be seen some faults and folds near the path.
The gradients of the hills with slates and quartzites are covered by kermes oaks. Over the limestones of the upper parts of the mountain a great repopulation pine forest have been planted.
Along the upper part of the bank, a dense ash forest is extended. Among the trees there is a network of blackberries, honeysuckles and other twining plants. The dimly lit and the high moisture benefit the development of many thorny bushes typical of the riverbank forests. At the lowest parts, you can see some black poplars and “chopos cabeceros” and at the darker areas there are holly and hazel trees.
In these forests live many forestry mammals such as the genet, roe deer or wild boar. On the river, there are crayfishes and otters. In the vegetable gardens there is a great variety of small birds species like the nightingale, melodious warbler…On the brooks there are diverse birds of pray like the golden eagles, a colony of griffon vultures and other types of birds home of the rocky areas.