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Barranco Blanco

“Barranco Blanco is a superb valley of cork oaks and pine groves, on the east side of the Sierra Alpujata, within the municipality of Alhaurin el Grande in the autonomous region of Andalucía. For the technically minded it lies approximately 36.61 degrees north and -4.75 degrees west. Leave the the MA3303 Mijas to Coin road at km4 and drive down about 3 kilometres to 36.61 degrees north, -4.73 degrees west where you can leave your car by a small bridge over the Rio Fuengirola which has its source just 3 or 4 kilometres from here (36.610 N, -4.775 W).”

The wooded hills are full of wildlife including wild boars. The valley, which can not be seen from the main road, is used by local people and tourists for mountain biking, horse riding, walking, swimming in the river and picnicking. It is a genuinely exquisite location.

Barranco Blanco is an ecological corridor that connects several natural spaces including the Sierra Alpujata, Sierra Blanquilla de Coín, Sierra de Mijas, and the fluvial network of Río Las Pasadas, Río Ojén, and Río Fuengirola. It is used by many different species of fauna and flora, connecting their different populations. Were these different animal and plant populations to become isolated from each other, they would no longer be viable. (On some maps you will see ‘Río Alaminos de Las Pasadas’ instead of just ‘Río Las Pasadas’).

This section of the Rio Fuengirola has been declared a Lugare de Interés Comunitario (LIC) by the European Union. It is home to 21 species of endemic or protected plants including the rare Galium viridiflorum, 2 species of rare insects including the Orange-Spotted Emerald dragonfly (Oxygastra curtisii), 5 species of fish such as the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and two ray-finned fish species (Squalius pyrenaicus and Chondrostoma willkommii), 6 species of amphibians including a rare Fire Salamander subspecies (Salamandra salamandra longirostris), 9 species of reptiles including Lataste’s viper (Vipera latastei) and the Common Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon), 21 species of mammals including the Wild Cat (Felis sylvestris), and 39 species of birds including Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus). The proposed new houses and gardens would have come within about 30 meters of the margin of the Alamino River which is home to otters (Lutra lutra). This particular species is protected in Annex II and IV of the Directive 92/43/CEE and vulnerable to extinction in Andalusian.”