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La Mata Nature Park
I noticed a recent news ‘bite’ which reports that this Autumn the fields of La Mata Nature Park are covered by more than 3,000 daffodils, 2,071 more than last autumn. I was intrigued why there might be such a big difference (as well as wondering who counted them); while I have not yet found an explanation, I now know a lot more about the Park itself!
La Mata and Torrevieja Lagoons Nature Park is located just to the north of Torrevieja and its most distinguishing feature is the pink colour of its lakes. I have passed these lakes many times on my way from and to Alicante Airport along the AP7 but, I am now ashamed to say, I have never stopped to explore.
According to the Comunitat Valenciana website the park extends across the municipal areas of Torrevieja, Los Montesinos and Guardamar del Segura and at its heart are the two salt water lagoons. Apparently it is a combination of minerals and their salinity that give the lagoons their distinctive pink colour.
Salt extraction has been an important part of the local economies along the Costa Blanca for centuries with salt production here reported to date from the 13th century: La Mata and Torrevieja Lagoons are said to be both the oldest and the largest salt lakes in Europe.
This Wetland area nurtures a diverse variety of flora and fauna. The flora include Mediterranean kermes oak brushland, Aleppo pine and Thyme and the fauna include lizards, dragonflies and many species of birds. In fact the park is an important habitat for wintering and nesting birds with more than 100 species reported: these include the black-necked grebe, storks and flamingoes. Hides are available for bird watching.
The park has well-marked walking (yellow) and cycling (red) trails. Most of the paths are tree-lined but some are without shade so a hat is recommended. There are no restaurants or kiosks so take your own water and other refreshments. There is a picnic area.
La Mata Nature Park is now on my list of places to visit and, if you have been, I would be interested in your comments: please post them below or post your recommendations on our Facebook page. And if you know anything about the growth in the daffodil population please share!
The park is around 45 minutes south of the Drivalia Car Rental depot at Alicante Airport. The Nature Park Information Centre is located in the Casa Forestal de La Mata (tel: 96 692 0404), close to the N332 coastal road: it is open daily except Mondays. Entrance and car parking is free.