After years of lobbying, Monfrague has finally been declared a National Park.

This area in northern Extremadura, a few miles off the Madrid Lisbon A-5 motorway, has long been a Mecca for Spanish birdwatchers, with numerous species to be spotted, such as the imperial eagle, the black vulture, the black stork and the lynx. Specialists in the field could surely rattle off many more.

The rocky scenery is very pretty, though not as obviously spectacular as in more famous areas of Spain, and this has led to Monfrague dodging over-development. The flora and fauna are what make it special, and these don't tend to attract the masses. Only now are a few Casas Rurales, etc, being set up partly on the back of its being named a National Park.

When visiting Monfragüe, bear in mind that many areas have limited access in an attempt to protect the wildlife, and so there are only a few key paths and roads where viewpoints are provided. This really means that Monfrag├╝e is a must for birdwatchers and everyone who enjoys viewing flora and fauna in their original surroundings, whereas ramblers will find their options slightly more limited than in some other parts of northern Extremadura.

Now that National Park status has been achieved let's hope the locals and the authorities work together within its framework to allow sensible development of Monfragüe's potential for visitors over the next few years while also maintaining the area's character.
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