Vall del Monestir de Poblet Landscape of National InterestNatural site of national interest
Santa Maria de Poblet is one of the most important monastic monuments in Europe. As well as having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it harbours the graves of the kings of the Catalan-Aragonese crown. From its beginnings in 1153, it provided land on which the monks could stock up on everything they required, it was also originally covered by forestry.
The Poblet forest, along with the valleys and gullies of Santíssima Trinitat and Tillar, were declared a Natural Site of National Interest by the Government of Catalonia. This certification guarantees greater protection to that of a Natural Park, with the objective of preserving the Cistercian monastery's environment. The park's grounds consist of 5,624 acres;
it is located in Conca de Barberà, on the northern slope of the Prades mountains, which form part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. It is also where the Francolí river begins before flowing through the city of Tarragona.
The Poblet forest plays host to Catalonia's largest holm oak reserve and the only community of Pyrenean and sessile oaks. Moreover, it also harbours various examples of ancient chestnut trees. Other species of tree that you will find in the park include Aleppo pine, black pine, yew, cedar and fir. The forests are inhabited by wild boars, badgers, roe deer and small shrews. Flying overhead you will encounter the golden eagle and Bonelli's eagle; at lower heights you can find Eurasian nuthatch and white-throated dipper. At the foot of the mountains, 1,640 feet above sea level, vineyards dominate the crop fields.
The land's northern positioning and the significant altitude reached by its highest peak - Tossal de la Baltasana, 3,943 feet - create a slightly colder and damper climate than would usually be expected at such a latitude. There is also an abundance of natural springs, many of which provide water with a high iron content.
Humans gained a significant presence within the park following the founding of the monastery. The monks constructed three farms - Castellfollit, La Pena and Tillar - which were knocked down and reconstructed at the beginning of the 20th century; they are currently used for forest purposes. In La Pena there is a preserved freezer farm, or ice pit, which would provide ice to the religious community. There are also Neolithic and Iberian remains, as well as a Saracen building - la Torre del Moro.
It's the perfect place for activities from picnics and walks, to the more demanding side of the excursions on offer. The monastery is even found on the Cistercian Route, a trail connecting Poblet with Santes Creus and Vallbona de los Monges. You can also try out mountain biking on the forest tracks, horse riding, archery, climbing and caving.
- Year of declaration: 1984
- Regulations: Law 22/1984, 9th November, which declares a part of the Poblet Monastery valley as a Natural Site of National Interest. Act 279/1998, 21st October, development of Law 22/1984, 9th November, which declares a part of the Poblet Monastery valley as a Natural Site of National Interest, and also establishes the partial nature reserves of the Titllar gully and the Trinidad gully.
- Area: 3379
- Ownership: Mixed or both
- District: Espluga de Francolí, l'; Vimbodí i Poblet.
- Visitor centres: N
- Annual closing: Abierto todo el año.
- Languages: Catalan, Spanish