- Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park
- The physical environment
- Human occupation and heritage
- Equipment and services
Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park is located in the sector of the Catalan Pre-coastal mountain range that rises between the regions of El Vallès Occidental and El Bages, and occupies an area of nearly fourteen thousand hectares.
It has a rugged landscape of proud cliffs and original monoliths, with vegetation spread over the mountain tableland or sunk in its characteristic potholes and channels.
The Natural Park comprises two main crests that are linked crosswise to the Coll d´Estenalles, stretch from north to south and descend on both sides into abundant, deep hollows. The highest peaks are La Mola (1,104 m) and El Montcau (1,056 m).
Since 1972, the Sant Llorenç del Munt massif and the Obac mountains have been protected legally by a special plan promoted by Barcelona Provincial Council. Modifications to the plan implemented in 1982 and 1998 led to the current protected 13,694-ha area.
The Department of Natural Areas of Barcelona Provincial Council manages this area in collaboration with the region's municipalities and the different sectors involved.
The main objective in managing the Natural Park is to make use of participatory formulas and consensus in order to comply with the special plan, and to guarantee the preservation of the region´s natural and cultural values, ordeed public use of the mountain and, above all, cultural, educational and scientific requirements, and the socio-economic development of the zone.
The Natural Park´s rough, rocky landscape is the product of persistent erosion of the rock from which it is made. It originated from the deposition in an ancient delta of stones and other materials transported by river currents during the Tertiary Period, some 50 million years ago. Later, these stones were cemented together by a calcareous or clayey matrix and gave rise to puddingstone or conglomerate. The erosive action of water on this type of rock prompted the formation of the park´s exceptional relief, the highly characteristic features of which are channels, rocky outcrops and monoliths. Underground, water has carved out an impressive series of cavities, which give rise to chasms, caves, lairs and springs when they rise to the surface.
The Natural Park´s characteristic vegetation is the holm oak, which at 800 metres is enriched with species typical of moist areas such as the common whitebeam, box and oak –which form some very interesting forests–, while at lower altitudes it blends with pines and Mediterranean shrubs such as heather and the strawberry tree. The base of the massif is covered with Aleppo pine woods, which are often replaced by Scots and black pine in the shadiest areas.
The shadiest channels feature spots occupied by common hazel, where plants typical of Central Europe find shelter in what are their most southerly sites of distribution.
A variety of plants of great interest, typical of dry places with little sun, grow on outcrops
Because of the park's broad range of ecological environments, it is home to many species of animals typical of both the Mediterranean and Central European regions, and over two hundred species of vertebrates have been counted.
Some of the most representative are the salamander, the Montpellier snake, the jay, the blackbird, the robin, the wild boar, the common genet, the weasel and various species of birds of prey.
Particularly noteworthy are the communities that live on rocky outcrops and cliffs, and the bat populations that inhabit some of the chasms.
There is also a remarkable presence of some species of invertebrate fauna, which are extremely rare elsewhere in Catalonia.
Human settlement on the massif of Sant Llorenç del Munt dates from prehistoric times. Over the centuries, remains have accumulated that bear witness to settlements from different historical periods.
The period that has left the deepest footprint is the Early Middle Ages, a period in which most of the inhabited nuclei that led to today´s towns and cities began to appear around the massif.
The most outstanding features from this period are the Romanesque churches and, very particularly, the monastery of Sant Llorenç del Munt, which was built at the top of La Mola.
Although peasants were previously spread all over the massif, only a few remain today. They have, however, inherited traditions and culture from the times when this way of life was at its height. Many elements of agricultural activity have lasted to the present day and can be discovered on signposted trails through the park: Hedgerows and vineyard huts, wine vats, waterwheels, weirs and mills.
Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park belongs to the network of natural areas that are protected, developed and managed by Barcelona Provincial Council and form a green ring around the country's most heavily urbanised sectors. The landscape, biological and cultural interest of the Sant Llorenç del Munt massif and the Obac mountains justified the creation of a protected area. The Natural Park is a platform to encourage a rational use of the region and to provide for ordered use of its resources. The park meanwhile responds to the demand for leisure and education sites and facilities in nature.
Complete information may be consulted at Park Agenda
The Sant Llorenç del Munt massif and the Obac mountains have a great hiking tradition. Trails to very remarkable and interesting sites start from several points and can be followed with the help of available maps and guides. These include the following trails that have been signposted by the Department of Territory and Sustainability:
- To the Drac cave via La Mola SL-C 50
- La Torrota de Vacarisses (fortified tower) SL-C 51
- The wine vats of the Flequer Valley SL-C 52
- From Sant Vicenç de Castellet to Sant Pere de Vallhonesta SL-C 53
- To La Mola from Coll d´Estenalles SL-C 54
- To the Carlets spring SL-C 55
- Dry stone SL-C 57
- The Talamanca stream SL-C 58
- Camí dels tubs de l´aigua SL-C 60
- The La Portella spring SL-C 63
- Over a thousand springs SL-C 66
- Caverns, farmhouses and mills SL-C 67
- The caves of Mura SL-C 69
- The Nespres stream
The information necessary to follow these trails can be found in the park offices.
Complete itineraries information may be found at itineraries on foot which may be consulted on the Internet
In addition to the Coll d'Estenalles recreation area, the park also has three other areas equipped with tables, chairs, cooking burners, services and running water, as well as a bar service and wood for sale. Remember that fires are strictly forbidden throughout the park, except in the areas set aside for this purpose.
- Torrent de l'Escaiola recreation area. The BV-1221 road from Terrassa to Talamanca, km 7. Matadepera. Tel. 937 435 454 and 629 503 040.
- Riera de Nespres recreation area. El Raval, s/n. Mura. Tel. 938 310 472 and 618 552 140.
- Les Arenes recreation area. The B-124 road from Sabadell to Prats de Lluçanès, km 12.3. Castellar del Vallès. Tel. 937 435 454.
Natural Park Office of Sant Llorenç del Munt i l´Obac
Carretera de Terrassa a Navarcles, km 14,8
P.O. Box 71. 08230 Matadepera
Tel. +34938 318 350
Fax +34937 433 300
Opening hours: monday to friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Natural Park Office of Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac. La Mata
- Centres and information points
- Parking lots
- Museums and equipments cultural
- Centres of documentation
- Schools of nature
- Youth hostels
- Recreation areas
- Service of guides
- Respect agriculture and livestock as they are the livelihood of many inhabitants of this park.
- Use the network of signposted tracks and paths. Vehicles, bicycles and horses must not be driven or ridden off roads and tracks for public use. Remember that the maximum permitted speed is 30 km/h. Do not block the way when stopping your car.
- Enjoy the park and preserve the natural and architectural wealth. Respect the peace and quiet, especially of bird nesting places. Do not make unnecessary noise.
- Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac is the perfect place for outdoor activities and sports. For you safety, take the appropriate precautions when undertaking any activity.
- Respect the peace and quiet, especially of bird nesting places. Do not make unnecessary noise.
- Hunting and fishing are regulated by law and are only allowed in designated hunting and fishing preserves.
- Abandoning pets and exotic species is cruel and punishable by law.
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is a rare tree that provides shelter and food for many species of animals. It is protected by law and collection of both the tree and parts thereof is penalised.
- Remember that burning branches and other materials, throwing fireworks, lighting fires and barbecues in the forest areas and in a radius of 500 metres are expressly prohibited (except in the period of the year in which the law so allows and with prior authorisation from the competent body).
- Do not throw away rubbish. Use the bins or containers provided or those of nearby villages.
- Camping in non-designated areas is not allowed. If you wish to camp, a permit is required. Councils will advise on how to obtain one.
- If you gather wild mushrooms or medicinal herbs, do not damage the forest by using tools or by digging in the earth.