Benifassà nature park – Castellón

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The Tinenca de benifassà nature park stretches across the upper headwaters of the Rivers Senia and Tastavins, which cut through the final bastions of the Iberian System in the district of El baix Maestrat in Castellón (The Valencian Community). The picturesque villages of Castell de cabres, and bel constitute the human heartlands of this rugged landscape. Named alter the Cistercian monastery of santa Maria de Benifassà, these lands, one traditionally controlled by the abbot, are now one of the most beautiful natural park in the Region of Valencia. The Tinença de Benifassá nature park and the adjoining lands of the neighbouring district, Els Ports, are of such environmental and cultural value that they were officially declared a protected zone in 2006. Covering 25,814 hectares across the municipalities of Castell de Cabres, La Pobla de Benifassá and Rossell, in the El Baix Maestrat district, and the municipality of Vallibona, in the Els Ports district, the nature park thus occupies an area greater than what was strictly the former district of La Tinença de Benifassá. Among this natural grandeur, certain tracts of forest stand out: La Tenalla and El Mas del Peraire in Los Puertos de Beceite, Masia Roure in the very heart of the park; and the wooden slopes of the Font del Teix, Sant Doménech or Masia Ferreres mountains, which feed the river Cervol. Along with the network of brooks and streams, these form an impressive landscape that will leave visitors awestruck.

La Pobla de Benifassá, is the district’s main town, and still bears testimony to life in times gone by, with its stone houses built facing the sun and its narrow streets leading up to the 13 century church, whose side Entrance is Romanesque and whose slim dell tower crowns the town. Located in the northeast of La Tinenca at an altitude of some 1,000m, Fredes is the most northerly town in the whole of the Region of Valencia. It is set in an  extraordinary landscape of leafy woodland and boasts a church dedicated to saints Abdon and Senen. At El Bellestar, the houses nestle among peaceful narrow streets and the is an interesting 13 century church. In Coratxá stands the Romanesque church of San Jaime, with its portico and broad dell tower. Below the clock a stone sculpture of a knight is hidden thought by some to be a Templar, and next to the cemetery lie stone carved ancient monograms of christ. Named after the forests of boxwood that used to provide the timber for tools and cutlery, the quiet village of El Boixar.

The runs between Fredes and the Ulldecona reservoir, by way of the spectacular Portell del Infern (Gateway to Hell). This stretch boasts unusual scenery and the most southerly beech woods in the whole of Europe. A particularly great beech wood is the Faig Pare, which is dotted with relics of ancient man in the form of cave paintings. For this reason, the Valencian Board of Culture has responded favourably fo the Centro Excursions in Valencia hiking centre’s request for this historical mountain trail to be officially declared a Site of Cultural lnterest.

Accessing La Tínença from the east, visitors will be greeted by the Ulldecona reservoir and its transparent green waters – as green as the surrounding píne — where trout can be fished. In the Abric dels rossegadors cave, towards the southern end of the reservoir, are the traces of mankind’s first settlement in this rugged landscape. This protected cave contains rock art depicting scenes of fishing and hunting. The reservoir’s surrounding area is the perfect setting for active tourism, with countless opportunities to enjoy walking, mountain biking, climbing and many other adventure sports.

Benifassà nature park - Castellón

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