The Brena y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park (official website and map), is one of the smaller parks in Andalucia although it has a fairly extensive 28 kilometres of marked pathways. The park covers both land and marine reserves with 100 metre vertical cliffs and waterfalls dropping into the Atlantic ocean. At low tide you can walk across the sand to look at the caves and waterfalls from below. Above the cliffs is a dense woodland of Stone Pines creating a canopy of shade. As well as the pine woods and marine zone there are moving dunes and wetland where the Barbate river meets the shore.
Undergrowth and scrubland includes Rosemary, Dwarf Fan Palm, Buckthorn and Junipers. At the cliff edge plants have formed dense cushions to cope with the Atlantic wind and salt spray. Seablite and perennial Glasswort are plants that have adapted to survive the harsh conditions. Also found here are European Beachgrass, Sea Daffodil and Maritime Juniper.
Status: Natural Park – 1989
Size: 4,000 hectares land, 1,000 hectares marine
Birdlife includes Cattle and Little Egrets, Audouin’s Gull, Herring Gull, Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcons. Some of the smaller birds taking advantage of the pine canopy are Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Woodlark, Dartford Sardinian, Orphean Warblers, Hoopoe and Serin. Spoonbills, Night Heron and Osprey may be seen in the marsh areas.
Chameleons roam the park and marine life includes Cockles and Clams also fish such as Sole, Eels, Mullet, Bass and Gilthead Bream.