Fauna and Flora

  • Pets allowed
  • Suitable for children
  • Natural heritage

The macro-ecosystem of Manzanares El Real

All the species that Nature can create in the Sistema Central, all the animals and vegetation you want to see, all, or nearly all, live here, in our privileged natural environment.

Manzanares El Real’s natural systems are rich and unique, where you can find wetlands, forests, high mountain steppes, foothill grasslands and steep granite peaks, among others.

These habitats are the perfect home for many floral species, unique trees, oak groves, beech, rockroses and ash forests, fungi of all kinds (even poisonous ones!) and lichens everywhere. And this splendid vegetation is, in turn, home to our mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians, fish and birds.

The coexistence of these systems and together with our care, from the smallest to the largest, is of vital importance for their survival, so that Manzanares El Real continues to be the natural environment that it is, so that we can enjoy the life it harbours.

Wildlife in all its forms

Shrubs, goats, flowers, insects, aquatic plants, amphibians, forests, mammals, mosses, reptiles, cliffs, birds... all of them in their perfect habitats.

Manzanares El Real territory is so large that it harbours many different spaces, with a very changeable orography and diverse soils. This variety, together with the mountain water that manifests itself in many ways, enables the growth and development of a variety of vegetation, depending on the altitude.

Despite the immense rocky masses characteristic of higher areas such as La Pedriza and La Maliciosa, it is surprising to find large steppes and meadows in the valleys, where life seems impossible, full of shrubs and aromatic plants such as junipers, thyme, lavender and rosemary. The granite rocks, whether at a higher or lower altitude, are always decorated with mosses that colour the granite landscape.

As we descend, this vegetation, typical of the Mediterranean climate, is accompanied by plant varieties which grow at the pace of the change of the soil, where the terrain is richer and less rocky. In these areas we can find forests of pine trees, brooms, holm oaks, oaks, cork oaks, cypresses and beeches, for example, always accompanied by lichens and blankets of gum rockrose, one of our most characteristic and important plants.

In the lower areas, meadows and pastures appear, bearing witness to the nearby human action. Ash and holm oak trees predominate, accompanied, of course, by all the shrubby varieties typical of our area, as well as immense blankets of wild flowers that populate the meadows in spring.

Then, of course, comes the time of year when the combination of humidity and heat creates the perfect conditions for the growth of fungi, which choose their place depending on the trees and the surrounding organic matter. This is the time when visitors come to our village ‘like mushrooms’, but please remember there are specific regulations for mushroom picking.

And finally, we cannot forget our very unique trees: the two hollies in the Cerradillas and the Manzanares River, the Scots pine in the Sierra del Francés, the two cork oaks in the Casiruelas and the Bandolero, and the three yews in the Hoyos Stream, the Chivato Stream and in the Hueco de Las Hoces. These eight great trees, pride of our natural and ethnographic heritage, are protected and guarded by the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park.

Flora y fauna - acordeón 1

Many of the animals and insects that inhabit our municipality find their only ecological survival niche here.

Being such a large space, there are a wide variety of habitats which provide shelter to many different species, some of which are common in the rest of the peninsula, others are more adapted and unique to this area, some are migratory and seasonal, and others are invasive species adapting to our environment. As with the vegetation, we will find different animals depending on the altitude and their food, protection and development needs.

As is well known, the mountain goat is the star among the largest mammals in our geography, an endemic species that had to be reintroduced due to its alarming disappearance and which now happily populates our territory once again together with families of wild boar, foxes, roe deer and wolves. There are also small mammals that do not go unnoticed and which contribute to the perfect maintenance of our ecosystem, such as several species of bats and voles, shrews, mice, rabbits and hares, otters, hedgehogs, red squirrels, weasels, badgers and genets.

The birds in Manzanares El Real are a true spectacle to behold, as the mixture of different landscapes, where the Santillana Reservoir stands out, makes the existence of a large variety of species possible. Thus, in the higher areas, large birds of prey and carrion eaters stand out, such as the Iberian imperial eagle, the golden eagle, the eagle owl, the black vulture and the griffon vulture, which share space with other medium-sized birds such as the red kite, the black kite, the goshawk, the peregrine falcon, the raven and the booted eagle. Medium-sized birds and small birds, both migratory and permanent, are the kings of our town centre and of the lower wild areas, where we can see magpies, sparrows, planes, swallows, swifts, carrion crows, quails, partridges, coal buntings, hoopoes, shrikes and tits, for example. And in the reservoir we find, finally, a paradise for ornithologists, where the different times of the year offer an enormous variety of birds to observe, such as the Ruddy shelduck, the Nile goose, the black stork, the white stork, several species of ducks and gulls, coots, horned grebes, wagtails, kingfishers, great cormorants and red-necked grebes, among other species.

Strange as it may seem, fish, amphibians and reptiles have found here their perfect ecological niche for survival thanks to the water of the Manzanares River, the many streams, the natural springs that emerge in our municipality, and the Santillana Reservoir. Some of the species of fish that proliferate in these places are the common trout, carp, lamprey, chub and pike, and among the amphibians, there are several species of toads and frogs, some of which are in the process of recovery, like the common toad. The reptiles in our region include a wide range of species of lizards and snakes, but the black-green lizard, the ocellated lizard, the mountain lizard, the snub-nosed viper and the European pond turtle stand out in particular.

In the case of insects, their ability to adapt to the environment has made them the group with the greatest number of species in the Guadarrama Mountain Range. In fact, it is estimated that 35.5% of the insects on the Iberian Peninsula are found here. This incredible capacity for survival means that, in Manzanares El Real, we can find more than 15,000 different species of invertebrates, including the group of Ephemeroptera, grasshoppers, ants, dragonflies, more than 100 species of butterflies and more than 1,000 species of coleoptera.

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In pictures

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Activities in Manzanares El Real

Treat yourself and give it to your five senses.