Nature in its
Carmona is located in the middle of the province of Seville, dominating a rich and extensive cereal and olive-growing region, located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river. Its town area, the second most extensive in the province, covers 92,000 hectares.
Geography has been an essential factor in the development of Carmona. The town is located on the crest of the Alcores ridge, the highest point in the area. Carmona, broadly speaking, can be divided into three main areas:
- La Vega, which is the immense flat plain below the town through which the river Corbones flows. Geologically, the area dates back to the Upper Miocene-Pliocene period and may well have been a sea floor, bathed with ocean currents.Enjoying a Mediterranean climate, the area has been adapted over the centuries to extensive cereal growing, creating a magnificent natural spectacle with the subtle variations in colour of the wheat and sunflower fields with the changes of the seasons.
- The Alcores ridge is formed of eroded calcareous rock and has rugged wild vegetation. Scattered along the landscape you can find the impressive quarries near the “Cueva – “cave“ – de la Batida”, and numerous beautifully constructed farmhouses. The Alcores escarpment actually starts in the town of Alcalá de Guadaira (60 metres high) and reaches its highest point (248 metres) in the historic quarter of Carmona. Its geological origins date to the Upper Miocene period, when the whole area was under the sea.
- The “Terrazas” – “terraces” – are located in a zone whose relief varies between flat land, and gentle slopes and hills with a gradient of under 7%. Its geological origin dates to the Quaternary period, and was caused by the intense aquatic activity that started at the beginning of said period with the creation of the Guadalquivir river.
Hydrography in Carmona is dominated by the Guadalquivir river and two of its tributaries, the Corbones river, which crosses the Carmona town area from south to north, although with a very low volume of water, and the Guadaira river. In addition, there are a large number of streams, often dry in summer. With regard to underground water levels, the Alcores has a tremendous capacity to retain and store water and these subterranean layers are exploited via wells.
The climate in Carmona is basically Mediterranean, with hot summers, with ample rainfall at the beginning and end of winter, and persistent dry weather in summer, caused by high pressure weather systems. The maximum temperatures coincide with periods of minimum rainfall, with the resulting effects of evaporation being very damaging for local agriculture.
The flora in this area is evidently greatly influenced by the high temperatures and lack of rain, resulting in plant life that is adapted to dry weather.
The fauna is rather limited due to the large amount of local farmland. The few mammals to be found are hares, porcupines, ferrets…
Biotypes. There are both land and water ecosystems, the former having been greatly damaged by human activity, since widespread farming has reduced the amount of natural brush, meadows and pastureland. With regard to the local aquatic system, the Corbones and Guadaira rivers are home to various types of flora and fauna.
The protected spaces of natural interest that are located in Carmona are the following:
1.- Landscape of particular interest:
The Alcores escarpment- The escarpment provides a stunning visual spectacle although the vegetation has been almost totally replaced by agricultural land. There are still small areas of scrub, grass and pasture. Technically, it is a south-west to north east table-shaped escarpment with heights varying between 100 and 220 metres. The substratum is composed of loamy sand, sandstone, Calcarenite limestone, blue loam, and so on, which result in medium quality soil providing limited farming alternatives.
The most common wildlife on view are species such as the kestrels, eagles, and small snakes, among others.
How to get there: In front of the Gate of Seville, take the path by the old slaughterhouse until you reach the old train station, from which the Alcores Via Verde scenic walking route begins, and which leads to the escarpment.
2.- Wetland areas:
The Santo Domingo lagoon – It is a very shallow lagoon, completely dry in summer, located on the Vega plain next to the Santo Domingo farmhouse. The lagoon is in a flat area located between the Alcores escarpment and the Corbones river and is of interest because of its unique landscape and birdlife.
How to get there: Leave Carmona on the SE-4108 road to Arahal, and, after 2 kilometres take the A-8100 road towards Utrera where you will find the Santo Domingo lagoon after 5 kilometres.
The Zahariche lagoon – This lagoon is usually very shallow, all depending on seasonal variations in depth, and is set in an attractive landscape with interesting birdlife. The natural vegetation has been largely replaced by crops, although small remnants of the original vegetation still remain in areas around the lagoon.
How to get there: Leave Carmona on the old N IV road, then take the E-5 road to Cordoba and, after 12.3 kms, drive off the motorway at Los Potros petrol station and then head on what is a minor road towards the town of Fuentes de Andalucía.
The Arroyuelos lagoon – It´s located on the flood plain formed near the Corbones river. The lagoon´s water levels are very changeable, depending on the season and is noteworthy for its variety of different types of ducks, including the Shoveler duck, the Muscovy duck, the widgeon and the common coot. The original natural vegetation has largely been replaced by crops and only tough, stubbly species, such as reeds, bulrushes and sedges, are left.
How to get there: Leave Carmona on the old N-IV road, then take the E-5 road to Cordoba, and leave that road and go to Fuentes de Andalucía on the SE 226 road (1st exit on the right at kilometre 500, just after you pass the Corbones river). The lagoon can be found after driving 4 kilometres along this road.
3.- Mountain areas of environmental interest:
The “Loma de la Cascajosa” – Located on the left hand bank of the Guadalquivir river, framed by the course of two streams, the “Cascajosa” and the “Masegoso”, it consists of a natural enclave in which, although surrounded by croplands, indigenous grass and shrub vegetation survives. Wildlife includes kestrels, griffon vultures, peregrine falcons, owls, blue rock thrushes, genets and weasels.
How to get there: Leave Carmona on the A-457 road to Lora del Río and carry on until you reach the crossroads with the road to Guadajoz (a district of Carmona). It´s around 13 kilometres away, and the hillock is on the right of the crossing
4.- Listed by the “General Urban Development Plan” (PGOU).
a.- The Batida Cave: located on the northern part of the Alcores escarpment, it is an old quarry site dating to medieval times. It is listed as in the PGOU as a unique spot because of its archeological value and landscape.
b.- The Corbones river and its setting: The Corbones river, its beautiful natural setting and its various tributaries, have been listed because of their uniqueness.
c.- Riversides and streams: there is a protected zone running 100 metres around riversides – measured from the edge of the actual riverbed – to help avoid the construction of any type of building, as well as to control the dumping of waste material.
ROUTES AND “GREEN” SCENIC ROUTES/VIAS VERDES
3.- The Alcores Vía Verde
Take a stroll along a disused railway line, enjoying the gentle contours of the Alcor, rich in different types of rock and Mediterranean vegetation. In addition, the varying heights and stratification of the Alcor make it an ideal area to do sports such as climbing and paragliding.