It is located in the northeast of Segovia, in the Sepulveda Massif, and extends over land in the municipalities of Sepulveda, Sebulcor and Carrascal del Rio, all in the province of Segovia. The river has excavated the Hoces of the River Duratón in the limestone, which was formed in the Mesozoic Era, some 140 million years ago; in this area the river has encased itself in a deep canyon, this encasement being due fundamentally to the erosive action of the water combined with the fracturing of the rock. The population settlements in the Hoces of the River Duraton Natural Park date back to prehistoric times, having found remains of Neolithic ceramics, although the vast majority of the findings are from the Bronze Age, from this period are also the cave paintings discovered in the park.
Celtiberians, Romans, Visigoths... left their mark all over the park area; the Visigoths are responsible for some sanctuaries that are found all over the park area, many of the caves in the canyon were converted into small hermitages. In the 10th century, on the lands of the park, there was a peasant population that was the basis of the repopulation of the area carried out by Fernán González, Count of Castilla. From the 11th century Romanesque works survive, such as the Benedictine priory of San Frutos, in the 13th century the monastery of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de la Hoz was built. The area around the Hoces of the Duratón river Natural Park was the scene of great war activity during the War of Independence and its caves were used by the Empecinado as a refuge and base of operations in their guerrilla skirmishes against Napoleon's troops. In 1953 the Burgomillodo reservoir was built, flooding a large area of the canyon floor.
Over the years, the Duratón River has adapted to the different geographical features and faults that make up the terrain, encasing itself in the canyon it forms in the limestone rock which, together with several geological processes that have taken place over millions of years, has resulted in the spectacular landscape of the park. The paramera, with its dry, poor soil, the cliffs, where there are many hollows, caves, cracks and projections, and the valley floor with its lush riverside forest, are some of the different areas that can be distinguished. But the Natural Park of the Hoces of the Duratón River, in addition to a beautiful landscape, has an important archaeological and historical wealth. Natural and cultural heritage of which the visitor, through different hiking routes and strategic viewpoints, can enjoy being closely observed by an important colony of birds. Griffon vultures, peregrine falcons, golden eagles or alimoches have made the place their habitat and flying over the sky they seem to be the guardians of the artistic and historical legacies that man has left at the top of the cliffs, such as the Romanesque hermitage of San Frutos or the Cave of the Seven Altars or at the bottom of the canyon the monastery of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de la Hoz.
In honour of Segovia's patron saint, San Frutos, a pilgrimage is held on 25 October around his hermitage.
In the park, around the 27 kilometers of sickles of steep walls of more than 100 meters high in some places, that the Duratón River has formed, the country constructions have a high ethnological interest. Traditional constructions such as shepherds' huts and cattle pens, shelters for the resin workers who used to exploit the pines, dovecots, and walls separating orchards and mills with their dams, reflect the work and vital needs of the former inhabitants of the area.
In one of the meanders of the Hoces of the River Duraton Natural Park are the ruins of the Monastery of La Hoz, which according to legend was founded on the remains of another ancient hermitage to house the image of the Virgin, as requested by the young shepherd Pedro. It is said that while he was with his flock one day, the shepherd noticed a glow over the ruins of an old temple, and coming closer he saw the image of the Virgin who said to him: "Go, Pedro, and tell the prior of San Frutos to come and place me in that place, pointing towards the ruined temple, from where San Frutos took me out with the good intention of preserving me from Saracen attacks". It was Pedro but the prior did not believe him. The next day the Virgin, in the same place, gave the same assignment to the young shepherd and this time the prior, from his privileged viewpoint of the Hoces del río Duratón, saw a strange glow in the distance where Peter was pointing, and followed him. When they arrived, they were surprised by the radiance that emanated from there, and the prior approached and took the image and with great devotion placed it in his old hermitage.
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Various roads lead to Sepulveda, such as the SG-232, which connects it with the A-1 motorway between Burgos and Madrid, at the same level as the towns of Boceguillas and Castillejo de Mesleón on the one hand and Turégano on the other. The SG-241 also reaches Sepúlveda, linking it with Peñafiel, among other towns, or the SG-V-2323, which runs through part of Natural Park the Sickles of the River Duratón. Without forgetting the different options that we have to reach Sepulveda from the N-110 in its section corresponding to the junction between Segovia and the A-1. In addition Sepúlveda has regular bus service that connects it with Madrid, Boceguillas, Santo Tomé del Puerto, Segovia, Peñafiel and Aranda de Duero.
In the same Sepulveda we will find the House of the Park, with information about it. From this same town, we can enter the Natural Park of the Hoces of the Duratón River by one of the hiking and mountain bike routes that start there, or go by road to the different areas prepared for the visit.
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