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Paisatges protegits de la serra de Bèrnia i del Ferrer

Serra de Bèrnia i Ferrer is a set of coastal and pre-coastal mountains characterised by a rugged landscape. It is located between the municipalities of Benissa, Xaló, Altea, Calp, Alcalalí, Tàrbena and Callosa d'en Sarrià. It forms an individualised system of great landscape and environmental value. Serra de Bèrnia, perpendicular to the coast and sunk into the sea at its eastern end by the cliffs of El Morro de Toix, marks the natural dividing line between La Marina Alta and La Marina Baixa.

It is roughly oriented from west to east and has a length of about nine kilometres and an average height of 900 metres, with the highest point standing at 1,129 metres above sea level. Consisting of Cretaceous limestone in the middle section and Eocene in the upper section, the tectonic action has given rise to a violent relief, perfectly defined in the morphology of steep slopes and rocky peaks. Two transversal faults limit the range: to the west, the valley called La Vall de Tàrbena and the high course of the River Algar; and, to the east, the ravine called El Barranc del Salat.

The high altitude that these mountains reach, the ecological and morphological diversity and proximity to the sea are the main factors that contribute to the existence of numerous habitats and species of flora and fauna, including numerous endemic species. These have led to the area being included among the Sites of Community Importance (SCI or, locally, LIC) of the Valencian Community in 2001.

Regarding the flora, it is an ideal place for several original Mediterranean species, such as Lotus corniculatus, the European goldenrod, the laurel and the laurestine.

In terms of fauna, undoubtedly, birds such as red-billed choughs, Bonelli’s eagles, peregrine falcons, goldcrests, red crossbills and common redstarts stand out. There are also reptiles such as the lizard or the horseshoe whip snake, and mammals such as weasels and foxes.

The human presence in La Serra de Bèrnia i Ferrer dates back to ancient times. The mountainous interior of Les Marines was one of the most densely populated enclaves of the Valencian Muslim settlements. As examples of this heritage wealth, the following should be mentioned: the fortress of Bèrnia, designed by the Italian engineer Giovanni Battista Antonelli, declared Bé d’Interès Cultural (Asset of Cultural Interest); the tower of Bèrnia, at the top of the mountain, dating from the 13th century; or the cave paintings, declared a world heritage site.

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