We are talking about a beautiful and unique forest, located on the north face of the Sierra del Sueve, very close to the Cantabrian Sea. The humidity of the coastline gives you a unique picture and a very rare ecosystem among beech forests. The low elevation at which it is located (about 200 meters of altitude) also makes it the beech that grows at a lower altitude on the peninsula and probably throughout Europe. This gives it even more personality and favors a late autumn within its domains (we can visit it in its maximum splendor when the rest of the beech trees have already lost their leaves).
The Magic forest
Influenced by sea breezes, the forest is often hidden in mist. The nickname "magical", with which many refer to it, is given by this circumstance and by others typical of its microclimate. La Biescona is a shady place in which there is no understory. Such is his leafy that the sun's rays do not reach the ground for much of the year. That is why it is free of weeds and grows everywhere a “magical” mantle of mosses, liverworts, fungi and lichens that clothe the rocks, the logs and bark that have been dislodged everywhere. The set offers a certain aspect of equatorial jungle, to the point that it is a paradise for botanists that have certified the presence of ferns and tropical bryophytes (some of which are almost living fossils due to their enormous age). A very inappropriate lichen for these latitudes is the so-called Lobaria virens - perhaps the largest botanical relic of La Biescona-; too one of the most endangered ferns in the world's flora survives here, known as the Deer Tongue.
Route through La Biescona
We see how it extends through the throat that forms Arroyo de la Toya. It is not only populated by beech, there are also birch, hazelnut, ash, holly, yew and some oaks that grow above their normal height. It is always worth going into this forest and enjoying its denseness, the extraordinary shapes of the trees clinging to the rocks, the ground covered with leaves, the solitude ... The trill of the birds will accompany us as we cross the sloping beech forest . We take it easy to take unforgettable photos. The size of some of the beech trees is incredible, like the centennial beech nicknamed "La fayona", undoubtedly the most photographed of the beech forest for its perimeter and impressive branches.
We intuit the fauna hidden from the forest like foxes, who find here many areas of refuge and breeding; hopefully a fallow deer will appear, we may find a cow from the Sueve cattle herd. The path becomes wet, muddy and slippery at times as we enter the Garganta de la Toya. We will cross the stream on several occasions, through areas where it is only a stream of water, but also through places where the channel is more alive. In the lower part of the beech forest we enter between high stone blocks and what appears to be a dry riverbed (loaded with water in the thaw). On occasion we dodge large fallen logs. The trail also holds traces of human activity, such as the ruins of the La Toya Mine, former iron extraction exploitation.
Two possible routes
We can start the route from the popular Mirador del Fitu or about four kilometers before the viewpoint, at a stop on the left known as Potru's foot. This second option is a round trip, ascending the beech forest to the Bustacu sheepfold, to go back down the same path. If we do not want the logistics of leaving a vehicle at the beginning and another at the end of the route, this small car park is the ideal place to start and end the tour of the beech forest.
We recommend the option of facing the beech forest in descent from the Mirador del Fitu. Especially the guided and explanatory visit organized by the Sierre del Sueve Interpretation Center, located in the town of Gobiendes.
This alternative is ideal if you go with children. From the Mirador del Fitu, where we left the car, we will walk to the upper entrance of the beech forest, crossing sheepfolds and meadows on the ridges of the mountain range, with great panoramic views of the interior of Asturias, the Picos de Europa and the Cantabrian coast. Later we will enter and descend through the beech forest, from the beginning at the height of "Fayona" to the vicinity of the old La Toya mines, where a wide path starts that leads us to Pie de Potru, next to the old Casa bar Julia, where we will finish the route, already next to the AS-260 road. The center is responsible for transporting us to the Fitu to take our vehicle again.
The route is medium-low difficulty and about 4 hours long, with a drop of 130 meters up and 550 meters down.
· More information: Interpretation Center of the Sierra del Sueve, Ancient schools of Gobiendes.
Cell: +655 80 97 73 XNUMX.
Maximum height: 656 m
Minimum height: 194 m
Ascent slope: 641 m
Descent slope: -645 m
Time spent: 05:43:36