Regions: Sierra Mágina
Altitude: 800 m
The natural monument Pinar de Cánavas is located in the municipality of Jimena, in the northeast of Jaén; more specifically, in the Sierra Mágina Natural Park. Declared a natural monument by the Andalusian Regional Government on 23rd November 2001, this enclave is also considered a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA).
The Pinar de Cánavas Natural Monument, also known as Pinar de Cánava, is a forest ecosystem in which the Aleppo pine is the true protagonist. The five hectares of this forest contain several majestic centenary pine trees of exceptional size.
The particularity of this forest, in which up to 120 pine trees have been counted, lies in its high degree of naturalness and, especially, in its longevity. The average age of the specimens in this forest is over 200 years, with specimens up to 250 years old.
The pine forests of the Pinar de Cánava natural monument contrast with the typical shapes of young pine forests with straight trunks and conical crowns. Thus, the rounded crowns of the pines, which are even shaped like parasols, are reminiscent of other tree species, although they can reach a height of up to 20 metres.
This pine forest represents a great value as an educational resource, offering a unique opportunity to analyse and understand the different stages of maturation that a forest goes through. The Pinar de Cánavas natural monument serves to observe the appearance of the pine forests that are nearing their old age.
In general, the forest of the Pinar de Cánava natural monument contrasts with the extensive countryside of the olive groves of Jaén and its characteristic limestone mountain massif.
This enclave is the ideal habitat for hundreds of species of flora and fauna that choose to make their home here, such as the wood pigeon and Bonelli"s eagle. These animals perch on the tallest and leafiest pines, but also on the bushy species typical of our Mediterranean climate that share the same environment. Thus, the hawthorn, the wild rose, the broom and the torvisco accompany the oldest pine trees.
In this forest, the scrub has practically disappeared as a result of human intervention, such as grazing activities. However, despite this, this pine forest has been preserved in a state very close to its natural state, preserving its unusual beauty intact.
When visiting this natural monument, and from the heights, you can contemplate beautiful panoramic views of Sierra Mágina, as well as of some of its closest villages, such as Jimena. Next to the Pinar de Cánavas forest, there is a signposted path that crosses it. It runs from the Ermita de la Virgen de Cánava to the Caracoles spot.
The natural monument Pinar de Cánava has a signposted path that you can include in your hiking routes to discover the most beautiful places in the province of Jaén. This hiking route is circular and runs through the Pinar de Cánava natural monument, Los Caracoles and the Graja cave, known for its cave paintings.
To start this hiking route, we start our walk from the spring of the hermitage of Cánava and its fountain, crossing the recreational area and standing next to the information sign that starts the ascent to the pine forest.
We ascend along a concrete path, passing the dry riverbed of the stream, a rest area and the Alamillo farmhouse, before reaching the Natural Monument.
We continue our route and enter the area of Los Caracoles, where the dry stone hut constructions used by the old quarrymen, who worked the stone on the old millstones, have been well preserved.
We now turn off in a northerly direction towards the plain of La Atalaya to reach the Lachar cliffs, next to the large iron cross. From here, we can catch a glimpse of the panoramic views of Jaén, Jimena, the Guadalquivir valley, the Serrezuela de Bedmar, the Sierra de Cazorla and the Aznaitín and Sierra Mágina.
When we pass the stone corrals, we start to descend to get closer to the Graja cave and see its cave paintings, and then continue along the slope of the Cánava stream to finish our hiking route.