Os Ancares

Os Ancares

Valle de Ancares is a traditional region of Spain, in the province of León, which coincides with the municipality of Candín, and which in the second half of the 20th century gave its name to a wider territory called Los Ancares, the more relaxed and broader version of which includes other parts of the Bierzo in León, from Navia de Suarna to Piedrafita del Cebrero in the east of Lugoand part of Ibias in the south-west of Asturias.


It is a mountainous area, difficult to access until the end of the 20th century, which has maintained its own customs, architecture and language. It is located between two river basins, the Sil and the Navia, separated by the ports of Ancares Pass (1670 m asl) to the north and Port of Portelo (1068 masl) to the south of the Ancares mountain range.


The foothills of the Cantabrian mountain range known as the Sierra de Ancares is a geomorphological system where the provinces of León and Lugo meet. It stretches from south to north, from Peña Rubia in the south-western end, and separates it from the valley of Balboa in León, and of the Noceda in Lugo, to the Ancares pass, which borders the Mingatón mountain range to the north and from where the Ancares valley opens up to the southeast, through which the river that has given its name to the whole region flows.


The Ancares valley, the result of glacial and fluvial erosion, is surrounded by mountains of high average altitude (Pico Cuiña 1987 masl) and steep slopes and is located to the northwest of El Bierzo. The main river is the river Ancares, a tributary of the river Cúa in the Sil basin. It rises at the junction of the rivers Cuiña and de la Vega to the south of Candín. Its tributaries are the rivers Miravalles and Seco, and the streams of Penedón, Baliñas and de la Cruz. The valley closes at the southern end of the municipality of Candín, coinciding with the southern limit of the traditional district Valle de Ancares. After this gorge, the valley opens out again in San Martín de Moreda and then the river flows into the Cúa in the municipal district of San Pedro de Olleros.


To the north of the Mingatón mountain range, towards Asturias, the Ibias river valley opens up with the Borde, Pandelo and Valcarce mountain ranges, and the Muniellos mountain ranges, which separate it from the Narcea river, and Barreiro that separates it from the Navia River.


To the south of the Barreiro mountain range extends the Navia basin with small mountain ranges such as those of Linares, Murias or Granda de Arrojo, until it reaches the district of Cebrero which forms the transition between Los Ancares and the Caurel mountain range.


Continuing from the port of Piedrafita to the east is the valley of the Valcarce  tributary of the Burbia with the valleys of the Balboa on the left bank and Barjas to the right. To the north, the Burbia valley borders the Ancares valley, and further north opens up the Valle de FornelaThe traditional region of León, headwaters of the river Cúa. To the west of this valley are the traditional districts of Rivas del Sil and Laciana, which form the "Alto Sil".


The Leonese part of Los Ancares, in addition to the valley of the river Ancares, includes the valleys of Fornela, Burbia and Tejeira. The area covers an area of just over 62 000 ha. The Galician part is articulated around the villages of San Román de Cervantes and Navia de Suarna and covers an area of almost 8000 ha. It is drained by the tributary rivers on the right bank of the river Navia, whose sources are in the Ancares mountain range. The Asturian part comprises only the valley of the river Ibias or Pelliceira, about 1000 ha.