Ecological tourism route
Ecological itinerary through the Muntanyeta dels Sants
Get to know the protagonists of the world of rice with this route.
La Muntanyeta dels Sants, in the municipality of Sueca, is a unique spot nestled inside the Albufera Natural Park. It is a magnificent watchtower from where you can appreciate, besides the flora and fauna of this area, the changing character of the rice plain.
Characteristics and recommendations
Respecting nature is respecting our own life. Don’t kill more than time, don’t take more than photos and leave only tracks on the grass.
La Muntanyeta dels Sants
A repopulation with native species.
The white pine or Pinus halepensis is a tree native to the Mediterranean region. The oldest pines in the Muntanyeta dels Sants pine forest come from an old landscape restoration, according to the oral testimonies of the last permanent inhabitants of the area. This repopulation occurred to fill the great void left by the quarry. As early as 1920, some suecanos called for municipal action to stop this deterioration. Then, through the contribution of marshland and the planting of this species, it was possible to reduce the visual impact and improve the conditions in which it was found.
However, we must bear in mind that many pine forests occupy territories that do not correspond to them and that, in reality, belonged to the Kermes oaks. We have the closest case in the Devesa del Saler, where we find the white pine accompanied by an undergrowth with species such as the kermes oak, the mastic, the aladierno, the blackthorn and the palm heart.
The current reforestation of the Muntanyeta has tried to recreate an area with typically Mediterranean flora destined to become a pedagogical and recreational space.
Human action, a sample of environmental impact.
Les pedreres són explotacions a cel obert d’on s’extrau fonamentalment roca destinada a la construcció. Com que Sueca està ubicada en el cor d’una immensa planura −una plana al·luvial quaternària formada fa més de 2 milions d’anys−, la necessitat de material petri per a l’elaboració de camins i murs era més que evident. Aleshores, per proximitat, la Muntanyeta dels Sants i el turonet veí, la Llosa de Pedra, es van convertir en el lloc idoni d’on poder extraure-la. Esta activitat es va portar a terme fins a l’inici de la Guerra Civil i encara hui en dia es poden apreciar les empremtes que van deixar les explosions de dinamita. L’impacte mediambiental que produïxen les pedreres és importantíssim i té greus conseqüències. La degradació és total en la superfície ocupada per l’explotació perquè provoca la desaparició del sòl i de la vegetació. Així mateix, l’entorn també es veu afectat parcialment, ja que també es realitzen altre tipus d’activitats igualment nocives, com per exemple la selecció de les roques o el seu transport.
Les figueres de pala
Representative, but not so much.
Prickly pears are plants of American origin, very common in all Mediterranean climate zones. Formerly they were a species used in the Ribera in reforestation for the production of figs and as barriers and thorny limits.
The prickly pears of the Muntanyeta, in photographs from the twenties, barely occupied small enclaves around the hermitage. After the abandonment of the quarry until today, they have considerably increased their area of expansion and have colonized both the rocky walls and their bases, which shows their ease of multiplication. This has made them the most representative species in the area, as they are the most abundant and visible, to the clear detriment of the development of native plants typical of the Mediterranean ecosystem.
Recent landscaping renovations have eliminated a large part of the populations of prickly pears at the base of the rocky walls and on flat terrain, limiting their growth to the walls of the watchtower, so that the rock species and other members of the typical scrub of the Natural Park of the Albufera can grow without competition.
El sòl i el subsòl
The caves: the action of nature.
The Muntanyeta dels Sants is a small calcareous elevation, a few meters high, specifically 27 in the highest area, and constituted an outcrop of the sunken relief. If you look at the rocks on the ground, you will be able to appreciate how this watchtower is completely fractured and cracked, while as far as its interior is concerned, we find it full of cavities and caves, some of which open to the outside, such as the Cueva del Burro or Draco’s cave
The formation process of the different cavities, caves and rock crystals present in the Muntanyeta is produced by the action of rainwater. This penetrates into the subsoil through the various cracks in the rocks and causes them to slowly dissolve. The ability of water to break down stone depends on the carbon dioxide it contains, which is absorbed from the atmosphere. This is how this acid water reacts with the carbonates of the stones and disintegrates them. In this action, the water loaded with dissolved carbonated salts, in turn, breaks down the rock walls, widening the cracks even more.
We now know that the Muntanyeta was formed about 100 million years ago, and is made up of dolomite rocks (calcareous stones and magnesium). The structure and type of rock of this small mountain are witnesses that this territory, in ancient times, was submerged and covered by the waters of the sea.
L'Ullal de Baldoví
The ecological tour of the Muntanyeta dels Sants would not be complete without referring to the Ullals. These are springs of fresh water in the marsh, of exceptional microbiological quality. They originate when groundwater comes into contact with a mass of salt water from the sea, then the difference in density acts as an impermeable barrier that forces the mass of fresh water to rise until it literally sprouts.
The Ullal de Baldoví, also known as the Gran Ullal, has an area of 4,500 km² and a flow of 250 l/s, which makes it the largest in the Albufera Natural Park and one of the best preserved. . With regard to fauna and flora, the ullal is home to unique and endemic species, including the small fish called samaruc, which is currently being reintroduced.
The contamination of the Albufera has produced an enormously negative effect on the group of beings that lived in this place, and in many cases has caused regression and even extinction. That is why it is absolutely necessary to preserve the good quality of the waters of the ullals, since this is what makes them strongholds of considerable and important biodiversity.
Do you need a guided tour?
You can do the route on your own, but if you need it, we can offer you a guided tour.