Navasola Nature

Living with Nature Breaks

Courses - Holidays - Retreats
Casa de Monte/Bunkhouse accommodation
Free accommodation for sponsored researchers

Since 2007-8 we have been inviting sponsored working naturalists and students to visit the 'Parque Natural' of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche with free self-catering accommodation in Fuenteheridos (in the heart of the park) at Finca Navasola:

  1. Visits of one week or preferably longer can be considered.
  2. Possible research topics in the region might include: Bat, bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian or invertebrate species; Plant succession, traditional hill farming, land management, neglect and transition; geology, geography, hunting and rural activities, mycology, general ecology and environmental studies, sustainability, rural and nature tourism, natural history and education.
  3. Enquiries, relevant to this rural location in Andalucia, are welcomed from interested individuals and organisations.
  4. Whether you are interested in pursuing longer term research or would like a low-cost retreat or holiday in return for a minor investigation into the local wildlife and natural environment, we can offer basic bunkhouse style accommodation in our secluded but accessible location.
  5. In some cases we may be able to provide catering, off-site accommodation, family visits or limited expenses.

Please write or email in the first instance, stating research interests with a brief summary 'cv' (a paragraph or two). Or telephone for a preliminary discussion.
Trevor Bending and Georgina Wright,
70 Westbrook Road,
London TW5 0NG
Tel: 0208 572 6790, 01652 660520

There are many delights in this less well-known corner of Andalucia tucked between its borders with Portugal to the west and Extremadura to the north. "Less well-known", but nonetheless popular with Spanish visitors from Seville and further afield and a few overseas visitors in the know from northern Europe.

Famous throughout Spain for the products of the black pig fed exclusively on acorns (bellotas): Jamon de Jabugo, Paté de Jabugo and Pata Negra (black leg of ham), the region is also known for its sweet chestnut production centred on Fuenteheridos and Los Marines and the spectacular limestone caves of the "Gruta de las Maravillas" or 'Cave of Marvels' deep under the hilltop castle and church of Aracena. The Doñana National Park and Huelva coast are within about a 70-80 minute drive but not accessible on a daily basis by public transport.

In spring there is much to interest the botanist and photographer as well as many colourful butterflies flying among the spring flowers. For the birdwatcher, vultures, buzzard, kites, eagles, bee-eaters, hoopoe, black and common redstart, three species of woodpecker and numerous small songbirds are a prelude to sightings of black stork and, soaring, above all, the black vulture.

In the late autumn the area is popular with Spanish visitors not only for chestnuts but also for its large range of edible funghi which are collected locally and on the menu in many local bars and restaurants. There is an annual exhibition of funghi in Aracena in mid-November and a permanent mycology 'museum' as part of the ham museum in the town.