It is located in an elliptical-shaped valley, surrounded by high limestone walls, embedded and protected by the Bóveda mountain range and the western section of the Árcena massif, at the westernmost end of Álava, in the municipality of Valdegovía, bordering on the province of Burgos. The Purón River has eroded the mountains of the Valderejo Natural Park to give rise to the spectacular gorge through which it flows. Three natural areas are clearly defined in the park: the summits, the wooded slopes and, at the bottom of the valley, the meadows and crops.
In this enclave, between two territories and two climates, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, there were human settlements since the Neolithic as attested by the megalithic monuments and archaeological sites it houses, such as the burial mound of San Lorenzo or the monolith of Monte Lerón, of great historical value. There are also traces of a Roman road, and in the depopulated area of Ribera there is still a church with Romanesque remains and curious medieval paintings. The Middle Ages were a time of repopulation of the valley, being the bishops and abbots those who, at the beginning of the IX century and supported by people coming from León and Asturias, the promoters of it. Nowadays, in the Valderejo Natural Park, in addition to the village of Lalastra and the rural nucleus of Lahoz, there are also the uninhabited villages of Villamardones and Ribera.
The Natural Park of Valderejo is undoubtedly a beautiful enclave for lovers of hiking. Short or long, according to taste and aptitudes, walks that travel hillsides, ascend to summits, discover nozzles or show the varied fauna and flora that populates the territory of the park. The large colony of griffon vultures, the largest in the Pais Vasco, which has made the rocks of the Valderejo Natural Park its habitat, will attract a great deal of attention. It is also interesting to reach the ruins of the uninhabited villages of Villamardones and Ribera via footpaths. In the Ribera there is still the church dedicated to San Esteban, with Romanesque remains and curious medieval paintings.
In the Valderejo Natural Park there are nine signposted paths that allow you to cover most of the park. But if any hiking route is famous in the Natural Park of Valderejo this is the Purón River Gorge. A unique natural spot, unbeatable habitat for numerous species of plants and animals, carved for centuries by the tireless work of the river in its course from its source in the vicinity of Lahoz to its mouth in the river Ebro.
In the Natural Park of Valderejo there is a traditional use of livestock. In the past, the cattle of all the neighbours were gathered together and it was a single shepherd who was in charge of climbing it daily to the mountains, watching over it and defending it from the wolf's lurking. The breed of sheep of this valley is the churra, known in Valderejo as "burda", for the wool rough of this race.
The Valderejo Natural Park was the first to be declared Araba-Álava Natural Park in 1992, and was the first protected natural area in the Euskadi to obtain, in 2013, the Q for Tourist Quality. By Decree 2016, Valderejo-Sobrón-Sierra de Árcena, Special Conservation Area and Special Protection Area for Birds has been designated, approving the conservation measures of the Protected Natural Area. The Valderejo Park Interpretation Centre is located in the village of Lalastra, the highest in Alava.
Once upon a time... in the valley of Valderejo lived a shepherd who, one day, being in the mountains with his flock of coarse sheep heard a beautiful melody. Curious he approached the place from where it came so captivating sound. Cautious and so as not to be seen he hid behind some bushes from where he could see how a beautiful young woman was sitting by the river, combing her blond hair while, absorbed, she sang such a bewitching song. The young shepherd immediately felt so in love with the girl that he did not hesitate to approach her and declare his love to the one the girl corresponded without thinking about it. When he went down to the village the young man told his great news to the people, who, surprised, advised him to be careful and that when he saw her again he should pay attention to the shape of her feet, not to be a lamia. The enamored shepherd returned to the mountain and found his young beloved bathing in the river. When he came out of the waters he saw with great sorrow that his feet were like ducks. Embargoed with a great sadness he returned home and feeling an immense sorrow he went to bed feeling sick. In his delirium he felt as his beautiful lover called him, but he could not recover and died. When the lamia found out, she went to the house of the wretched boy just as the funeral procession was on its way to church, she asked to see him for the last time and, allowing him to do so, she covered him with her kisses and returned to her mountain. And they say that there were so many tears that because of her sad love she shed that where they fell a spring gushed out.
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The A-4338 leads from San Zadornil to Lalastra and Lahoz. On weekends and public holidays, a bus company operates two daily services between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Lalastra.
In Lalastra, where the House of the Park is located, Parketxe, and the starting point for the routes and itineraries offered by the Natural Park of Valderejo, there is free parking for cars and buses.
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Una maravilla, tiene un montón de rutas de senderismo y también es un lugar para visitar para aquellos a los que les gusta la observación de las aves. Muy recomendable también para ir con los peques.
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