The Western Sierras
There are a total of 60 protected areas in
the official register of nature reserves in Galicia, testifying
to the amazing diversity and richness of the region’s ecosystems.
Among them are to be found the sierras (mountain ranges) of O
Courel and Os Ancares, both in the province of Lugo.
The Os Ancares sierra covers an area of 12,775 hectares and is home to a fascinating variety of flora unique to the region and interesting wildlife, with the capercaillie deserving a special mention. In terms of anthropology, the pallozas, prehistoric dwellings that were lived in until very recently, are particularly worth visiting. The sierra can be reached from Becerreá, on the N-VI road between Pedrafita and Lugo.
The O Courel sierra, alternating between deep valleys, densely-vegetated with indigenous flora, and high peaks, covers 21,020 hectares and is, geologically, the most complete of the Galician sierras. Between the valleys and the peaks lie extensive parkland where oak, yew, beech, hazelnut and holly trees grow. The gateway to the sierra is Quiroga, on the Ponferrada to Lugo road via Barco de Valdeorras and Monforte.