Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Self Guided Walking 2º Edition April 2010

It’s been almost 18 months since we produced our first Self Guided Walking "book" with 35 self guided walks in the Picos de Europa and Asturias. The book has been a big success with hotel guests and many have used it to help them decide on their outings and walks whilst staying at the hotel.

Self guided walking along an easy track in the Ponga Mountains

We have just finished the second edition of the book and its now being used by hotel guests. It includes 7 completely new walks making a total of 42 walks. There is also more information on the walks which can be done with out using a car; 19 walks in total! There is an introduction to the walking opportunities in the eastern part of Asturias, including the Picos de Europa, with brief descriptions and photographs of the different walks.

Personal satisfaction reaching the summit (Sen de Mulas above Collado Viances)

The walks are grouped into the following geographical areas:
Around the hotel including the Sueve Mountain range
Picos de Europa Western and Central Massif
Ponga Mountain Range
Coastal walks

Coastal walking

An "Easy" Peak; Mosagre

In each section (geographical area) the walks are listed in increasing degree of difficulty; easiest walks first, most difficult walks last. To grade the walk a combination of both the total distance and the total ascent has been taken into consideration


Bird watching whilst on one of the new self guided walks "Andarra Massif" Picos de Europa

Resting on Pico Moro, one of the self guided walks starting and finishing at the hotel

Most of the information about the different walks is also available on our web site, under the Self Guided Walking section. The actual notes for each self guided walk are available for guest along with the appropriate map at the hotel.

Checking your not lost in the forest! Happy Walking!

More information on our self guided walks.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A lone ranger in Asturias

Stunning scenery in Ponga

It was good to see an article about the Ponga Mountains and the hotel published in the travel section of The Guardian today. Entitled “A lone ranger in Asturias” it is written by Stephen Venables who was the first Briton to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen.
Prompted by Inntravel, Stephen stayed at the hotel for a few days last year. Whilst here we suggested he visit the Ponga Mountains so he could get to know one of our favorite regions. His article starts; Northern Spain's variety of mountain terrain means you should be able to find a range to yourself –in the enchanting Pongas for example. The full article can be found here A lone ranger in Asturias.
And a few more photos so you can see why we think Ponga is such a lovely region and why it inspired the title " a lone ranger in Asturias"
Looking north from El Abedular

Looking to Pico Zorro and El Recueno from Tiatordos

Extensive Beech forests in the Ponga region with the Maciedome mountain in the background

Beech trees in winter and the snow covered Picos in the far distance

Climbing Pico Pierzo. One of the nine self guided walking routes in the Ponga region available at the hotel.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Pasture Maintenance

At this time of year many of our pastures and meadows are starting to burst into flower. The photo above (taken today) shows a mass of spring squills flowering in the hotel meadow. The pastures don’t look after themselves though. If we didn’t maintain our pasture it would start to revert to forest, which for us would initially mean brambles, accompanied by other species which our livestock find unpalatable. Our pastures are grazed by sheep, horses and chickens, and some are cut for hay but they also require human intervention to maintain them.
Sheep grazing the hotel meadow in autumn.

Horses helping maintain the pastures.
There are three main reasons for pasture maintenance on our farm. They are; to provide our animals with food, to conserve natural biodiversity and to control vegetation in the orchards. Each of these three reasons has a different maintenance approach, and combinations are also possible

Hay harvest; preparing animal food for the winter

When a pasture has been grazed, the plants that are left untouched are the ones that the livestock won’t eat, such as brambles, nettles, bracken, thistles, and gorse. If these are left unchecked they can take over, gradually eroding the edibility and therefore usefulness of the pasture, which can result in the pasture being lost. It’s a vicious circle. This is where the maintenance comes in, removing the unpalatable (undesirable) species so that the palatable (desirable) species can grow. Removal of undesirable species can be done by hand or machine, depending on the species and the extent of the problem

Sheep grazing in the Cuevona Meadow

Three areas of our farm are managed particularly to maintain natural biodiversity, in particular of wildflowers, with the secondary objective of providing food for the sheep. Here the pasture maintenance follows traditional practices and cycles; we cut the meadow for hay in late June and then let the animals graze the re-growth in late autumn. Many species of flora have adapted to these traditional practices and respecting these traditional cycles allows this diversity of flora flourishes.

Full Beauty of biodivesity in the Castañarina Meadow

The chief objective for the three orchards is to produce a commercial apple crop, and the secondary objective is to provide grazing for our sheep. Luckily these go hand in hand, with the sheep eating the vegetation beneath the trees, thus making our task of collecting the apples a lot easier

Picking apples where the grass has been grazed

If your interested in pasture maintenance you will find a new document in the how and why section of our web page where it discusses pasture maintenance in more depth

Our horses enjoying the pastures.


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.