Ponga mountains - Introduction
Ponga Natural Park is a remote area of sparsely-populated mountains and forests, on the northern slopes of the Cordillera Cantabrica, nestled between the Picos de Europa National Park and Redes Natural Park.
Ponga Natural Park covers some 205km², and falls entirely within the Principality ofAsturias. The existing Borough of Ponga was declared a natural parkin 2003, so that the boundaries of the park are in reality politicalrather than geological boundaries. The chain of mountains known asthe "Cordal de Ponga" extends beyond the boundaries of the park, as does the geological "Ponga Unit".
Ponga Natural Park has been referred to as a "hidden and forgotten paradise". It is known for its steepness of terrain (70% of the land surface has a gradient of 50% or above). Deep green valley sclimb to vertiginous peaks, passing through extensive beech forests on the way. Lost amongst the landscape are abandoned villages, high summer pastures, the medieval inn of Ventaniella, the isolated hermitage of Arcenorio, high passes to León, and an historic railway destroyed by floods. Ponga is a working landscape, where the arts of traditional farming cling on. There are many excellent walks, including high mountain ascents, as well as scenic drives,t raditional bars, and unspoilt villages.
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