Hayedo de Montejo (Sierra del Rincón)

  • Hayedo de Montejo (Sierra del Rincón) © Equipo de la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Rincón
    hayedo_de_montejo_sierra_del_rincon.jpg
  • Hayedo de Montejo (Sierra del Rincón) © Equipo de la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Rincón
    hayedo_de_montejo_1.jpg
  • Hayedo de Montejo (Sierra del Rincón) © Equipo de la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Rincón
    hayedo_de_montejo_3.jpg

One of Madrid’s most extraordinary sights is hidden away right up on the northern tip of the region, renowned for its beech trees, which do not usually grow so far south. While the russet shades of the leaves in autumn are especially striking, a walk in the forest, with the light filtering through the branches, is an unforgettable experience at any time of year. It was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in July 2017 and is part of the Sierra del Rincón Biosphere Reserve. It is a great day-trip from Madrid, as it is only one and half hour from the capital.

The 25,000 visitors that visit it every year attest to the beauty of this natural environment on the banks of the Jarama River. About 100 km from the capital in the foothills of the Sierra de Ayllón, the Hayedo de Montejo is an ancient forest that covers 250 hectares and is home to 833 species of plants and 194 species of vertebrae, many of which are endemic. The russet shades of the leaves in autumn make the visit of the forest especially magical.

There is a legend that goblins and fairies lived in the forest and lured the visitors with their sweet song to take them to their lair and turn them into animals. We do not know for sure if the legend is true or not, but what we do know is that the beech forest has 833 species of plants and 193 species of animals and that the 500-year-old, 20-meters-tall beech tress live together with 100-year-old oaks, holly and ash trees, roe deers, wild boars, herons...

Hayedo de Montejo has become a “living laboratory” thanks to its ecological value and has served for research on consequences the climate change has on the European beech trees. Different universities have done research on its biological value.

The park has a picnic area with tables and drinking fountains close to the entrance. As the forest is a protected environment, visitors cannot walk around on their own and have to take guided tours, which are free and led by experts who reveal the secrets of the forest on a series of fascinating hikes through this unique landscape. 50% of the passes for the visit can be booked online. The other 50% are reserved to be booked on site on the day of the visit and are given out in order of arrival and can be acquired (until fully booked) at the Information Center of the Sierra del Rincón Biosphere Reserve (calle Real 64, Montejo de la Sierra)

The program of environmental education at the Hayedo de Montejo wishes to show the visitors the importance of the natural and cultural resources and their peculiarity, but always respecting their environment and defending their conservation. With that in mind, during the year, they organize guided free tours to discover the forest works or the secrets of the birds in the beech forest. 

Apart from the visit to the beech forest and escaping the busy city life for a day, there are plenty of things to do in the Sierra del Rincón. From a walk among the stone houses, the etnographic museum and interpretation points explaining the beautiful hamlets of Montejo de la Sierra, La Hiruela, Prádena del Rincón, Puebla de la Sierra and Horcajuelo de la Sierra, to a walk on one of the 20 Green Paths of Madrid or the GR303 that goes through the 5 towns. 

If you are looking for something different, you should try some of the activities of the “Reconexiónate (Reconnect)” program and assist the herbalist school, theme paths on birds, botany or do a mushroom workshop, take a night tour or a photography tour. It is also a great place to watch the stars, do some cycling or ride a horse.

How to get there:

From Monteo de la Sierra take M-139, km mark 8, towards El Cardoso. There is no public transportation available.

Interesting links:

 

Image credits:

© Equipo de la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Rincón

 

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