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The Metropolitan Park of Los Toruños and Pinar de la Algaida Marshes occupies an area of 1,000 hectares. It is located between the municipalities of El Puerto de Santa María and Puerto Real, in Cádiz. The strategic plan of Los Toruños is to become a critical piece of the network of Public Areas of the Bay of Cádiz, with a clear public-service vocation for the population of the metropolitan area and as an instrument for promoting the cultural, ethnographic, historical and environmental values of its surroundings, for the enjoyment of the population and visitors of the Bay of Cádiz.
The Metropolitan Park of Los Toruños and Pinar de la Algaida Marshes is framed within a biophysical area dominated by the mouth of the San Pedro River and the land surrounding it, in an arrow shape along the coast, coastal marshes, dune and pine chain, which are intimately and inextricably linked in their origin and evolution.
General informationExtension: 1000 hectares Environmental units:The Atlantic coast of Andalusia Routes:Cadiz by the TransAndalus, Wine and Marco de Jerez Brandy Route
Fauna and flora
The variety of ecosystems found in the Metropolitan Park, and its soil conditions, together with the greater or lesser proximity to the coast and the movement of its tides, and therefore salinity, force of the wind and water, etc., model a series of areas that are clearly differentiated in terms of flora.
We find, in broad strokes, pine forests, mainly dominated by stone pine accompanied by an undergrowth consisting mainly of mastics, broom and olivillas and to a lesser degree rockrose and bufalagas species, among others that begin to colonise less crowded areas of the pine forest, such as gamones and narcissus.
In the marshes of Los Toruños we find a heart of Aleppo pine, unique for being the only group of this species in the Park. Due to its proximity to the marsh, as part of the accompanying scrub, we can find mastic and asparagus, some salty. As we approach areas with greater influence of the marsh, though still far from it, we begin strolling through juniper forests. Visitors may find it difficult to differentiate these areas from those of the mastics, although, even if they are a very similar association of species, together with the mastics it is common to see the wild olive trees which completely disappears in the juniper forest, giving way to an area of kermes oaks, olivillas and bufalagas.
Both in the La Algaida and Los Toruños there are temporary lakes and ponds, extremely important for the communities that grow here. The plant communities, just like the amphibians and invertebrates, depend on annual rainfall and, therefore, of the permanence of water. Of particularly curiosity is one of pools located near the Aleppo pine, which is fully covered by one of the species of greatest interest: Frankenia boissieri.
The Metropolitan Park shelters a rich and varied fauna in its different habitats. The species that inhabit these ecosystems respond to the environmental conditions, presenting specific adaptations to periods of dryness, physical-chemical and soil-based variables, etc. It is known that the marsh is one of the most productive areas with a great contribution of nutrients used by the primary producers, which, in turn, are consumed by the invertebrates, therefore resulting in the enormous abundance of these in the marsh. At the San Pedro River, at any of the secondary streams that run through Los Toruños, or along Levante beach, we can find bivalves like knives, cockles, clams, etc., crustaceans like the fiddler crab and polychaetes like the miñoca, all rich delicacies for birds that use the Park during winter and their migration.
The dynamic tides of the Metropolitan Park, together with the enormous productivity of the streams, converts the marshes into a pantry for the babies of the many fish species. The most abundant species are the sea bream (Sparus aurata), sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), sole (Solea senegalensis), eel (Anguilla anguilla), and mullets (Liza spp)
What to do
The Dynamisation programme of the Metropolitan Park includes campaigns, conferences and events to encourage the population to actively participate in the use of space, through the organisation and development of leisure, sports, public holidays and commemorative activities which attract all citizen groups. Every day and all year, it offers an activity programme including trips in electric train and on bikes, kayaking and group boating along the San Pedro River, children's workshops, school campaigns, etc.
La Algaida Trail: click here.
Los Toruños Trail: click here.Sports:Kayaking, Mountain biking, Multi-adventure activities, Hiking
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The Visitor Centre of the Bay of Cadiz Nature Reserve is in San Fernando (Cadiz). The recently built facilities, a model with regards to sustainability, are located at the Salina of La Leocadia, opposite the Camposoto Beach. The ideal place for a visit to this Nature Reserve, as its facilities offer you diverse information on the area and the activities possible there.
Furthermore, at its facilities a viewpoint has been prepared on the second floor for enjoying the natural paradise.