The Natural Park of Somiedo is a piece of land of great beauty designed for nature lovers. It is located in the southern area of the Principality, bordering the border of León. It is a territory dense in environmental and cultural values. Its surface occupies the not insignificant figure of 300 square kilometers. A whole world of unevenness: soft and steep reliefs that vary from the 400 meters to higher levels than the 2.100 meters. In between, the rest of the altitudes keep a treasure different from the view, a cluster of scenery and endless routes that will force us to plan the excursions.
Photo report of: Alex Badía
Visit the Somiedo Natural Park it must first of all be an exercise in patience and ecological and cultural respect. Neither you can see in a hurry nor is it allowed to leave in the Park any material or object that was not there before. This territory already had settlers at the beginning of the Bronze Age and remains practically intact. The archaeological landscape reveals ancient burial mounds, hill forts, and in its dazzling brañas we come across the most famous sign of identity: the cottages of teito, which are stone constructions with broom cover, a wild shrub known scientifically with the name of Cytisus scoparius, and which in Somiedo is called «xiniesta». The brañas of Pornacal and Mumián are the most important ethnographic groups in this sense. The cabins take us back to a feudal era, it seems that we have traveled in time. To our eyes they are immemorial and romantic. However, the cabins have been fulfilling a vital function to date, eminently livestock, as hay warehouses and shelter for grazing. livestock it has been the economic activity par excellence; and the high pastures in the summer and the housing of the cattle during the winter have determined the biological clock of the inhabitants of the Park, especially of the popular population of the vaqueiros of elevation, the Cantabrian nomads.
Every year, in the spring, the Vaqueira family leaves their winter homes and, together with their animals and belongings, moves to the summer villages located in the mountain areas. Sometimes, these displacements exceeded one hundred kilometers, since some families were "rising" from the coastal area to the southern slope of the Cordillera, already in Leonese lands. Currently they persist about fifty families They move from the councils of Tineo, Salas and Belmonte de Miranda to the Somiedo summer towns (El Puerto, La Peral, La Falguera and Llamardal). The vaqueira population has contributed and contributes many contents to the ethnography of the municipality, and it is in its musical folklore where its ancestral character manifests itself most strongly.
Somiedo: Biosphere Reserve
The council of Somiedo adds 37 population centers grouped in 14 parishes. The peoples are currently facing unknown challenges: the crisis of the traditional economy, rural aging and the commitment to new approaches to progress in a protected area that, as Biosphere Reserve that is, it is governed by a rather rigid regulation. The rules are strict and end up conditioning the sociology of the territory in order to preserve its privileged nature.
When traveling Somiedo out of their villages, for their mountains and valleys, we must respect our integrity and not be too reckless. You have to realize that we are in a high mountain space and that it is convenient to leave notice of the itineraries that we plan to carry out, not to venture into high areas with bad weather, to carry a detailed map, a compass, suitable footwear ...
If we go well equipped we will discover that the beech woods are forests more frequent in Somiedo and that usually populate the slopes. Other forests present in the Park are oak groves, birch trees, alders and holm oaks, which appear in glacial valleys
and karstic peaks of abrupt geology. There is also a typical northern fauna, with the nuance of Somiedo are counted between the 40 and the 50% of the Bears of the Cantabrian Mountains. The highest bone density area in Western Europe. Among the mountain species include the chamois, golden eagle, roe deer, deer, marten, squirrel, dormouse, genet, wolf, capercaillie ...
Somiedo is an ark of Noah and a land of legend, it also lacks the mist, forests or lakes. The territory is crossed in its totality by lands that belong to the upper basin of the Pigüeña river and its tributaries, and they are very numerous the lakes and lagoons. Lakes of the Valley, Cerveriz, La cueva, La mina and Lago Negro or Calabazosa stand out. Along with these of more importance, there are numerous lagoons of small size, such as Lake Bueno, Lagoons Cabera, Redonda, Llamazo, Fontarente, Lake de la Mesa, Camayor, Fuentes, etc. some of which are temporary and dry during the summer.
Routes through Somiedo
In Somiedo, as is logical, there are thousand and one possible routesSome of these itineraries have been marked, others not. It is convenient to start on the signposted routes, which are a lot and sufficient in principle for any self-respecting hiker:
Ruta del Camín Real de la Mesa -La Bustariega, GR-101 // Ruta del Camín Real, GR-101 // Route of El Cornón, PR. AS-10 // Ruta de la Braña de Mumián, PR. AS-11 // Ruta de las Brañas de Saliencia, PR. AS-12 // Ruta de Castro, PR. AS-13 // Route of La Peral - Villar de Vildas, PR. AS-14 // Route of the Pigüeña Valley. The Pornacal, PR. AS-14.1 // Route of the Lagos de Saliencia, PR. AS-15 // Ruta del Valle del Lago, PR.AS-15.1 // Route of El Puerto - Sousas - Valle de Lago, PR. AS-16 // Route of Braña de Sousas, PR. AS-16.1
In order to obtain more precise information on the itineraries that suit each one and to obtain first-hand information, graphic documents and maps, it is best to approach the Park Interpretation Center which is in the capital of the council: Pola de Somiedo.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestHow to access the Park
Somiedo does not have direct access by rail, however, the big lines can leave us in Oviedo or León, which are points reasonably close to Somiedo. From there, the accesses by road in public transport are very well taken care of by the company ALSA that communicates the council practically with all the parts of Asturias.
For those who use the private vehicle, Somiedo has two possible entrances; in the North and in the South. If we come from Madrid or another point of the interior, the most reasonable thing is to use the A-6 to Benavente, where you take the N-630, direction León. A little before León, in Onzonilla, we will see the indicators of the A-66 toll road, direction Oviedo. After a few kilometers, we will cross an impressive cable-stayed bridge over the reservoir of Barrios de Luna, once past we are announced the exit towards Villablino, which we will take to Piedrafita, where we will see the Puerto de Somiedo. Immediately we will arrive at Santa María del Puerto, the first town of Somiedo and the one that marks the beginning of the descent of the port that leads us to Pola de Somiedo.
For those who opt for the North entrance, you have to take the N-634, Oviedo-La Coruña, until a little before Cornellana, where there is a large crossing perfectly signposted. Then, a little further on, we turn to the left again. to take the AS-227, which passing through Belmonte de Miranda, leads us to Pola de Somiedo without possible loss.
Useful telephone numbers
Health Center: 985 76 36 79.
Riera's office: 985 97 21 00.
Civil Guard: 985 76 36 00.
Ethnographic Museum: 985 76 39 84.
Youth Information Office: 985 76 36 52.
Somiedo Natural Park: 985 76 37 58.