Hiking and Cycling by the High Bidasoa - Part I

We are passionate for Navarre. We frequently visit its capital, Pamplona, and its Northwest area. We escape when possible to Aralar, Baztan, Alto Bidasoa and Cinco Villas. But, above all, we are assiduous of the cider house season, in Larraun or Basaburua.

Arbol Muerto Bertiz Dead Tree - two birds one stone
One of the dead trees that inhabit Bertiz

This past August we returned to explore this area and our first destination was Bertiz Natural Park. This space has an area of 2,000 hectares and has been a private estate for most of its history, so it did not suffered the same exploitation that is perceived in its environment. In 1949 it was bequeathed to the Government of Navarre and was declared a National Park in 1984.

The estate has a moderate relief with a maximum slope of about 700 meters, and is crossed by numerous streams that flow into the river Bidasoa. For the most part is covered by a well preserved mixed atlantic forest, predominantly beech, especially in the higher elevations, oak in the lowest and, in a lesser amount, ash, alder, chestnut and hazelnut.

As for the fauna, some of its most prominent inhabitants are mammals as the Iberian desman and varied forest bats. In addition, we should note the presence of several species of woodpeckers as the Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Green Wood pecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker and the Wryneck, which is an indicator of the health of these forests, since these birds only inhabit mature well maintained forests. As a final point, we must not to forget the presence of insects such as dragonflies, butterflies and wood decomposer beetles.

For two days we relaxed exploring some of its trails as Irretarazu, Suspiro and Aizkolegi, which run through the beech forests of the higher elevations and reach the highest point of the estate, the Aizkolegi (830 m), which is a magnificent lookout over the valleys bordering Bertiz. In this magnificent watchtower the last owners built a summer palace which ruins are preserved.

We will continue telling the rest of this experience in the second part of this article.

We are moving now.

We will tell everybody where we are once we arrive.