A nature walk in the dramatic Barranco de Badajoz, Guimar

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

I have wanted to visit the Barranco de Badajoz for a long time as I was aware of its historical interest and biodiversity. However I always thought it was a rather short walk for my energetic walking friends, and too difficult underfoot for my less active friends. However, I was proved wrong on both counts when I finally visited it on Saturday, 19th March.

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

The Barranco de Badajoz is known historically for being the last stronghold of the resisting guanche population after the spanish invasion. However, I was interested more in the wide range of interesting and endemic plants that grow there. Usually such a barranco would be extremely difficult to walk up, due to large boulders, etc, but this was not the case until the last 100m or so before the end point where the barranco becomes almost vertical some hundreds of metres high.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

 

The path up the barranco is a driveable (4×4) track for a great part of the way, and then becomes an easy sand/gravel path until you reach a decaying and unused concrete water channel bridge overhead just below the Galeria Izana. Only then does the path deteriorate to a rubbly scramble through bramble bushes till you reach a very narrow gorge, only a couple of metres at its narrowest, where the cascade chain begins.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

 

We began our walk from near the church in the village of San Juan in the Guimar valley where there are a number of parking places and a nice friendly little bar for our end of walk drinks. However, if we had wanted to shorten the walk further we could have driven a further kilometre to park on the side of the barranco itself, or even further than that.

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

 

On entering the barranco it is fairly wide, with small farms either side on the slopes. Gradually as you walk up the barranco sides close in and get steeper and the farms get fewer and then disappear. Half way up the barranco is a concrete and cobbled ramp which takes you past a gallery entrance on the left and through a narrow gorge on a bend in the barranco. Afterwards the barranco widens again but from this point on, the richness of the plant life and the breathtaking scenery are amazing.

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn - Sanguino - (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn – Sanguino – (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Immediately after the gorge there is a group of evergreen small trees including Atlantic Islands buckthorn – Sanguino in spanish -(Rhamnus glandulosa), Spiny Buckthorn – Espinero – (Rhamnus crenulata), Canary maytenus – Peralillo – (Maytenus canariensis), and mixed in with them some Wild Olive (Olea europea). Also luxuriant growth of shrubs and climbers such as Shrubby Burnet – (Bencomia caudata), Forest Bindweed – Corregüelón de monte – (Convolvulus canariensis) and Madder – Azaigo de risco (Rubia peregrina ssp agostinhoi).

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

At the sides of the path and tracks can be found Pinnate Rue (Ruta pinnata), False sages (Sideritis oroteneriffae), Viper’s Buglosses of two species (Echium virescens) and (Echium strictum), an endemic broom (Teline osyroides) and Canary St Johns Wort (Hypericum canariensis) among many other things.

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation - another Canary endemic

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation – another Canary endemic

 

 

 

 

 

On the steep slopes are forests of ferns, lots of native sow thistles (Sonchus sp.), native Cinerarias (Pericallis sp.) and so much more. Even in the luxuriant brambles near the end of the trail an endemic of the stinging nettle family can be found (Urtica morifolia).

Pinnate Rue - Ruta pinnata - a Canary endemic.

Pinnate Rue – Ruta pinnata – a Canary endemic.

The walk took us 3.5 hours at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to look at the plants. We walked 8.5 km / just over 5 miles and climbed approximately 310m on a gentle incline. As mentioned above, starting the walk 1km further on, and finishing a little sooner could have reduced the distance by 2-3 km, and, as it is a there and back walk one can walk as little or as much as desired. However, I do recommend going past the concrete and cobble ramp and through the gorge to see the best biodiversity.

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

You can find various walks to the Barranco de Badajoz on the wikiloc.com site to help you get to the beginning.  Clearly the higher reaches of the barranco with high vertical cliffs does not lend itself to accurate GPS tracks.

Vicia cirrhosa - an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

Vicia cirrhosa – an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

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About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on March 21, 2016, in Botanical interest, South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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