Walks on Fuerteventura

A number of tracks of varying length from a quiet picnic spot.

For me, one of the attractions of Fuerteventura is its stark, desert landscape. After living in London for over 20 years, the feeling of space here is quite spectacular.  However a bit of contrast doesn't go amiss, so last week I decided to investigate one of the reforestation programmes going on here on the island, El Pinar de Betancuria.

To get there, go through Betancuria on the road to Vega de Rio Palmas and look out for a left hand turning signposted El Pinar de Betancuria.  This is a dirt track, but it is a good one, so normal cars will have no problem using it.  A short way along the track you will be faced with a building which is the tree nursery.  Turn to the left here, and after about 1.5km, you reach a lovely picnic area nestled in a forested valley.

Ok, so if you have been to Canada or even Scotland, you probably won't be impressed, but this is quite an achievement for a desert island with an annual rainfall of under 5" a year!

This forest was the first in a series of programmes to reforest the island and will be followed by another four in other locations.  It has served as a testing ground for identifying species that can survive in our fairly extreme weather conditions.

The picnic area is well equipped with tables and benches nestling in the shade under the trees. There is also a children's play area.

Apart from having the expected toilets, the area has a number of barbeque areas.  Some of these are inside and are equipped with chimneys to keep the air fresh, and sinks for cleaning up.

Others are outdoor, but built in traditional stone to compliment the natural surroundings.

You, of course, will have to provide the charcoal and food, but this is a very peaceful spot to spend a few hours.

There are many tracks that you can walk in the area, and I recommend taking some binoculars if you are a bird watcher.

Corinne Sellens

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