The Macizo de Peña Ubiña is behind the Picos de Europa the main mountain system of the Cantabrian Mountains. The recent declaration of the Ubiña-La Mesa Natural Park turns this space into the fifth natural park of the Principality. With it, the protected area in Asturias exceeds 35% of its territory, the highest level of natural protection in Spain.
It limits to the south with the province of Leon, to the west with the Natural Park of Somiedo and to the north with the councils of Belmonte de Miranda, Grado and Proaza.
The International Coordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) approved the 11 day of July of 2012 in Paris the declaration of the territory of the Las Ubiñas Natural Park -The Mesa as Biosphere Reserve. Thus, Asturias already has six integrated spaces in this global network, given that the reserves of Somiedo, Muniellos-Fuentes del Narcea, Redes, Picos de Europa (shared with Castilla y León and Cantabria) and Río Oscos, Eo and Terras de Burón (shared with Galicia) is now the Natural Park of Las Ubiñas-La Mesa.
One of the highlights of this privileged landscape is the intense glacier modeling, a geological footprint that is most evident in the broad valley of the Ports of Agüeria, in the center of the Park: one of the most beautiful places of this one. The best view of these ports is reached at the top of the nearby Peña Rueda, limestone pyramid of 2.155 meters high. The route to access it starts from the village of Lindes. During the ascent the different tonalities of the pastures are observed in the slopes, of a more brown color where the snow has taken longer to retreat. The old glacial systems also they are clearly observed in the Veiga the Robezo, Socellares and Llaseiru. Glacial cirques, troughs, buckets or moraines; geological scars from a past where snow was perpetual in this area.
Make summit within the limits of this Park is relatively simple, because there are mountains for all tastes, with dozens of options: from the most relaxed trekking to the most risky climbing. At the southern end, the Peña Ubiña massif, the second highest mountain in the region after the Picos de Europa, with altitudes higher than the 2.400 meters (Picos del Fontán and Peña Ubiña with 2.417 meters), as well as the Huertos del Diablo, with peaks that exceed the 2.100 meters. In the limit with Somiedo rises The Tadal of the Table, with 1.830 meters in the Alto de la Cugurza and Peña Negra. In the north zone of the Park, between Quirós and Teverga, is the southern end of the Sierra de La Sobia, with heights higher than the 1.600 meters.
They abound too the caves and chasms, such as the Trabe complex, Vallina el Corro or Manín, subsoils studied and surveyed by cavers for years. The Huerta Cave, in Teverga, has galleries of fourteen kilometers and is cataloged as a natural monument. It is worth highlighting the interesting karstic gorge, formed by the Val de Sampedro River, which goes from the town of Fresnedo to that of Páramo, where the aforementioned Cueva Huerta is located.
The Ubiñas Natural Park stands out for the great abundance of beech -with over 5.000 hectares- and oak and birch forests, which occupy more than 500 hectares. There is also a remarkable presence of ancient yew trees. Above the forests dominate extensive areas of grasslands that supply the native cattle since always. Traditionally, the flocks of transhumant merines from Castilla León and Extremadura have also traditionally been fed.
The Park is part of the eastern end of the osseous population, which is in better condition. He capercaillie keeps in the forest areas of the area several cantaderos in use and finds refuge in the numerous acebedas. In low areas, the presence of important forest stands allows the settlement of wild boar, roe deer, goshawk or hawk. Although the high mountain species are more representative in the Park: chamois, eagle, vulture or Egyptian vulture.
The archaeological and ethnographic heritage, as well as the maintenance of traditional land uses, are other values added to the natural ones. The population is scarce in the whole area and is located on the banks of the main rivers. The communication between towns and villages is done by unprecedented roads, being especially beautiful the route that from Campomanes leads to Puerto de la Cubilla by Tuiza.
In general, it is about a rural space based on beef cattle; more specifically of the Asturiana de los Valles race. In the villages you can find good examples of the traditional architecture of the Asturian mountain, with houses built in stone masonry and wooden corridors. Next to these cores of the valleys coexisted brañas of the mountains, in which simple cabins of stone with roof of tile or broom were built (teito), in addition to the calls corros or cabanos, circular constructions with a false stone dome . In the council of Teverga there are good examples of these brañas, such as those of Tuiza, El Rebellón, Llamaraxil or Funfría. The ethnographic wealth of the Park extends to the conservation of characteristic local traditions, crafts, gastronomy and folklore.
The Fresnedo Rock Coats located in the surroundings of the village of Fresnedo, in Teverga, are the most representative of a rich archaeological heritage. It is a set of five covachos with numerous pictorial representations dating from the Bronze Age - El Hierro. From the castreña era remains of forts in the Focella and Barrio (Teverga), as well as in La Picona in Ricabo and El Collao (Quirós).
Undoubtedly one of the most famous elements of this area is The Camino Real de La Mesa, Roman road that ran along the crest of the cordales that today delimit the councils of Somiedo and Teverga (Cordal de La Mesa), as well as those of Belmonte de Miranda and Grado (Cordal de Porcabezas). This route, perhaps as old as the first indigenous Asturians, communicated the main Roman towns of Asturias with those of the Asturica Augusta (Astorga).
The main access roads to the Park are the A-66 highway and the N-630 national road, which connect Oviedo with the capital of the Lena council, as well as the AS-228 regional road that, from Avilés and crossing the entire downtown area of the region, reaches the Puerto de Ventana in the council of Teverga. A Bárzana, capital of Quirós and gateway to the central area of the Park, is accessed by the AS-229 regional road, both from Pola de Lena, by Alto de la Cobertoria, and from the junction with the AS-228, by the Valdemurio reservoir. The road network of the Park is completed with lower order roads that start from the council capitals, serving the different valleys in which the territory is organized.