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El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park


 

El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park, covering a total area of 2,938 hectares, lies to the south of Barcelona, fully within its metropolitan area. The park, steeped in rich farming tradition, embraces agricultural lands, the river and natural or naturalised spaces in the delta alluvial plains and the lower river valley.

El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park was established with a view to conserving the agricultural and environmental value of these areas, providing a suitable response to the problems caused by pressure on the agrarian space resulting from the urban and industrial expansion of Barcelona and the towns in the River Llobregat Delta itself. In 1998, this response was given the shape of a joint initiative to establish the Agrarian Park Consortium, led by Barcelona Provincial Council, Baix Llobregat County Council and the Unió de Pagesos (farmers union), joined later by the 14 local authorities in the area covered by the agrarian park, with a total population of some 730,000. In 2006, of the Catalonia´s Government Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action also joined the Consortium.

The basic mission of the agrarian park is to consolidate and develop the territorial base and to foster the continuity of agrarian activity, promoting specific programmes to conserve production, ecological and cultural values in the agrarian space and developing its economic, environmental and social roles in a framework of sustainable agriculture integrated into the territory and in harmony with the natural environment.

Besides the Consortium, the park is governed by two other basic instruments: Town planning Special Plan, and the Management and Development Plan.

Physical environment


El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park lies on the River Llobregat alluvial plain. The soil here is formed by rich sediments deposited here over the years by the river from which this county takes its name. The climate is mild thanks to the south-southeast exposure of the delta, ensuring plenty of sunshine, whilst the regulating influence of the sea and the physical protection provided by the mountains have also helped to make this a rich, fertile land. All these factors make El Baix Llobregat an ideal area in many ways for agricultural farming.
 
The River Llobregat and its tributaries play a crucial role in shaping the area: surface waters are channelled by drainage networks and irrigation canals taking water to the crop fields and natural areas in the delta, whilst underground water is generated by the largest aquifer in the Llobregat Basin and one of the most important in Catalonia.

The agroecosystem


The agrarian park seeks a balance between ecological, social and economic processes resulting in an agrarian ecosystem or agroecosystem in which cultivated biodiversity (crops) and spontaneous herbaceous cover exist side by side and interrelate with the livestock and fauna associated with the different habitats present in the Park. The park, with the huge diversity of ecosystems it contains, provides a habitat for a rich variety of flora. We can group the landscape as it stands today into three large types of plant communities: those associated with the agrarian areas (crop fields, hedgerows and corridors), with the river (riverside environment and wetlands), and with the coastline (coastal pinewoods and dunes). However, the peculiar ecological conditions of the area also foster the appearance of specific communities enabling certain plants of outstanding interest to survive here.
 
Amongst the crops grown in the agrarian park, the most outstanding is the artichoke (Cynara scolymus). Some 7,340 tonnes of artichokes are grown here every year on a total area of 565 hectares, making El Baix Llobregat the highest artichoke producing region in Catalonia, and the artichoke itself the most important crop plant in El Baix Llobregat.
 
Thanks to the variety of habitats in this area, the Llobregat Delta is inhabited by a rich diversity of animal species. Most of the fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals present in the delta are common and relatively widely distributed throughout Catalonia, one exception is the Algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus). The presence of this mammal on the agricultural plains of the Llobregat Delta is of vital importance, as this is one of the northern most coastal enclaves of the species. However, certain outstanding bird species that inhabit the Llobregat River Delta confer international importance on the delta, whilst the sheer number of species that can be observed here –more than 350– also help to make this an extraordinary site for birds.
 
The main livestock farming animals here are sheep and the Prat Race of chicken and capon, known here as Pota Blava ('blue leg') due to the characteristic slate blue colour of their legs and claws. The European Union has awarded this chicken the seal of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
 
The presence of this combination of biotic, abiotic and anthropic elements in the agrarian park, when managed correctly, makes it possible to obtain a harmonious, and therefore sustainable, agricultural ecosystem.

Human occupation


Humans have been present in the Llobregat Lower River Valley and Delta, with its characteristic form of a plain beside a river, since prehistoric times. The outstanding conditions the area provides for the practice of agriculture prompted the earliest inhabitants to settle here.
 
The slow evolution of farming in El Baix Llobregat since its beginnings some 6,000 years ago began to accelerate enormously in the 18th century. By the following century, more than three-quarters of the land in the different municipal boroughs in the delta were being farmed, the principal crop being the vine, whilst the rest was given over to wetlands, marshes and sandy areas.
 
The construction of irrigation canals in the 19th century marked the beginning of a transformation into fruit and vegetable gardens, and by the 1930s El Baix Llobregat boasted the highest figures as regards exports of all types of fruit and vegetables to the rest of Europe. The area given over to agricultural land was greatly affected by the population and economic booms that took place between 1950 and 1975. During the 1950s, agriculture ceased to be the principal economic activity in the Lower Llobregat Valley and Delta, and some of the best farming land was occupied by urban and industrial development.

Architectural heritage


An important, lively centre of activity, the Llobregat Delta has been endowed with many testimonies to its cultural vitality in all historic periods. The most outstanding Neolithic site found here is formed by the Can Tintorer mining complex in Gavà, which dates back more than 5,000 years, making it the oldest in Europe. Art Nouveau, known in Catalonia as Modernisme, left several magnificent architectural sites here, including the Colònia Güell industrial estate and crypt in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, the work of Antoni Gaudí. Other interesting architectural sites from the same period include the Ricarda farm (El Prat de Llobregat), Les Begudes cardboard factory (Sant Joan Despí) and the water board, or Societat General d'Aigües de Barcelona headquarters in Cornellà.
 
There are also a total of 73 traditional buildings distributed over the delta farmlands, a score of them richly meriting classification as local architectural heritage.

Information centres


Masia de Can Comas
Agrarian park management and information centre

Apartat de Correus 76
08820 el Prat de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 933 788 190
Fax (+34) 933 794 800
E-mail: parcagrari@diba.cat

 

El Baix Llobregat County Council
Agrarian Park Chairmanship and Administration

Parc de Torreblanca, ctra. N-340
08980 Sant Feliu de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 936 852 400
Fax (+34) 936 851 868
E-mail: parcagrari@elbaixllobregat.net

 

Unió de Pagesos (farmers union)
El Baix Llobregat Regional Office

Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, 84 bxs.
08830 Sant Boi de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 936 525 700
Fax (+34) 936 525 701
E-mail: baixllobregat@uniopagesos.org

 

Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action
Government of Catalonia
El Baix Llobregat Regional Office

Lluís Pasqual Roca, 8, 1r
08830 Sant Boi de Llobregat
Tel. +34936 400 882 / 794
Fax +34936 304 093

 

Barcelona Provincial Council
Department of Natural Areas

Comte d'Urgell, 187, 3r
08036 Barcelona
Tel. (+34) 934 022 400
Fax (+34) 934 022 926
Web: parcs.diba.cat
E-mail: xarxaparcs@diba.cat

Access


Routes


Agriculture in the Llobregat Delta

 
A circular route around the El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park, showing agrarian activity and the agrarian and river ecosystems in the site past and present, as well as visiting the Park Information and Management Centre.
 

Useful addresses


Emergency
Tel. 112

Barcelona Agricultural College (ESAB-UPC)
UPC El Baix Llobregat Campus.
Tel. (+34) 935 521 000

Remolar-Filipines Nature Reserve Information Centre
Tel. (+34) 936 586 761

Cases d´en Puig Environmental Information Centre
El Prat de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 933 709 002

Colònia Güell industrial estate and crypt
Santa Coloma de Cervelló
Tel. (+34) 936 852 400

Agbar Museum
Cornellà de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 933 423 514

Gavà prehistoric mines archaeological site
Tel. (+34) 936 382 570

Chapel of Sant Ramon
Sant Boi de Llobregat

Catalunya en Miniatura (Catalonia in Miniature) theme park
Torrelles de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 936 890 960

Roman baths
Sant Boi de Llobregat
Tel. (+34) 936 351 250

Recommendations


  • The landscape of the El Baix Llobregat Agrarian Park is made up of agrarian, natural and architectural elements. Enjoy all this, and help to conserve it for future generations.
  • The main source of income for the local farmers is fruit and vegetable growing. Keep out of fields and remember that unauthorised fruit picking is forbidden.
  • Reduce speed when driving along the tracks through the park.
  • Keep all pets close to you, under strict control.
  • If you decide to park, please do not block paths. Never park at the entrance to public or private ways.
  • The signposts in the park are designed to provide useful information for all visitors. Do not damage them.
  • Motor vehicles are forbidden off public roads and ways.
    Obey all signposts.
  • Hunting is forbidden except by special licence.
  • Do not leave litter anywhere. Put it in the bins in the park and neighbouring villages.

interest

Mapa del parc

Mapa del Baix Llobregat