As I've reported elsewhere on this blog (see - http://birdingcadizprovince.weebly.com/cadiz-birding-blog-page/ojen-valley-access-denied) despite being used by birders for decades the Ojen Valley road is no longer open to vehicles although you can still walk or cycle along the 16km track. This, however, is not a practical proposition for most visiting birders who neither have a bicycle nor the resources to be picked up at the far end of the walk. The site is still noted in Cadiz Tourismo's recent 'Birding Cadiz' booklet (yes, they nicked my title) with the warning that “You need special permission to access the road with a vehicle” but, with a genius so often typical of such publications, doesn't tell you either to whom to apply or the criteria the authorities use to grant permission! What seems like a no-brainer to me evidently isn't so evident to them.
I'm very grateful, therefore, to Fraser Simpson (a regular visitor to the area) for the following information. Apparently you need to submit a form entitled “Modelo Petición de Autorizaciones Actividades de uso Público, Turismo Rural y Turismo Activo” which is available fro the Natural Parks section of the Junta de Andalucia. This form also seems to be available online at http://www.famp.es/famp/intranet/documentos/rio_palmones/9.%20Modelo%20solicitud%20autorizacion%20actividades%20UP.pdf (although this example refers to the Rio Palmones in the webaddress, I think that it's a standard form). I have also reproduced it at the end of this post but I suggest people check online rather than rely on the forms reporduced here. Applicants must send the signed and completed form by e-mail to email@example.com addressed to the Director Conservador del Parque Natural Park. Those with good Spanish could try phoning the park headquarters on +34 856 58 75 08 856587508 or write a letter to Parque Natural de los Alcornocales, 11180 Alcalá de los Gazules, Cádiz, Spain. It might also be worth calling at the offices of the Parque Alcornocales in person (it's situated just off the A 381 next to the information centre on the Benalup road below Alcalá de los Gazules). I've had dealing with the staff when they were located in Alcalá and found them to be pleasant and helpful (although having only limited English). Fraser's permit was for a week and was granted without charge. However, he was visiting with group of university students and has been studying a site in the Ojen valley for some years so may have been at an advantage compared to 'ordinary' birders.
Since I've mentioned him here, I'll also take the opportunity to strontgly recommend Fraser's superbly illustrated, detailed and very useful website. His trip report on his visit in spring 2017 (one of about a dozen on this area based at Zahara de los Atunes) which is well worth browsing (see - http://www.fssbirding.org.uk/costadelaluz2017trip.htm. His notes include sonograms, excellent sketch maps and a comprehensive species list.
About me ...
Hi I'm John Cantelo. I've been birding seriously since the 1960s when I met up with some like minded folks (all of us are still birding!) at Taunton's School in Southampton. I have lived in Kent , where I taught History and Sociology, since the late 1970s. In that time I've served on the committees of both my local RSPB group and the county ornithological society (KOS). I have also worked as a part-time field teacher for the RSPB at Dungeness. Having retired I now spend as much time as possible in Alcala de los Gazules in SW Spain. When I'm not birding I edit books for the Crossbill Guides series.