It might have ended up as a shooting range, but this area of 40,000 hectares whose natural value was described far back in the chronicles of the sixteenth century, was finally declared a national park. Part of the Montes de Toledo, on the border between the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real, Cabañeros boasts one of the most valuable and unspoiled and Mediterranean forests of the Iberian peninsula.
The frogs, the mountains and wetlands form an extraordinary landscape where rock-rose, rosemary and lavender flourish among holm oaks and cork oaks. Deer and wild boar own these fields, and eagles and black vultures dot the sky.
It is a real adventure to zigzag in an SUV among the holm oaks through the low scrub, a plain that stretches for 15 kilometres long and covers an area of 8,000 hectares. You will feel you are living your own particular Out of Africa experience. The population density is only around the 0.07 inhabitants per square kilometre so there will be hardly a sign of human habitation. Despite this, the scene is by no means empty: it simply bustles with life. At dusk, the deer come down from the mountain, the lynx starts to roam its domain and numerous other species recover their territory.
In autumn everything is covered with a fine dust kicked up by the rutting deer on the plains. Up in the gall oaks, holm oaks and cork oaks are the nests of the 120 pairs of black vulture that live and breed in Cabañeros. This is the second largest colony in Spain, second only to Monfragüe.