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Marshlands, birds and rice paddies: Doñana in the province of Seville. The Marshland

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Doñana stretches across a vast plain between Seville and the Atlantic Ocean. Sun, air, water and mud are the protagonists for hundreds of kilometres around this enormous and uninhabited geological basin, the history of an Andalusia eroded, transported and sedimented here over millions of years.

Described by romantic travellers, inhabited by forgotten communities, transformed by the rice industry and rediscovered by environmentalism, Doñana in Seville has become a discovery for the Sevillians, after centuries of anonymous coexistence, thanks to the curiosity of travellers and the enhancement of the tourist services.

In Doñana, marshlands, meadows, forests, rivers and rice paddies, together with the towns that surround it, form a small universe full of life and biodiversity which, throughout the year, offers the possibility of enjoying the most emblematic, important and well-known natural space of the entire European continent. Moreover, this paradise not only represents an ecological and environmental landmark, but is also a huge capital in terms of sustainable tourism. 

For this reason, we suggest that you delve deeper into this territory and stimulate your knowledge of the culture, history and nature offered by the towns in this unusual paradise. Aznalcázar, Isla Mayor, La Puebla del Río, Pilas and Villamanrique de la Condesa. In the end, we offer you a plan with five proposals to enjoy and get to know this Sevillian setting, a jewel of Europe and a paradise for nature and ornithology lovers.


The Marshland: where ornithological biodiversity reaches its maximum expression.

The last remains of natural marshland survive in the Aznalcázar marshland, beyond the limits of the Doñana National Park, along with the last vestiges of a genuine way of life fused with the marshland, the marshy culture. The marshland is a world reference place for any birdwatcher.

You can start your tour of this place from the town of Isla Mayor. Once you leave it, your visit will run parallel to the rice fields of the Canal de Casa de la Riera, one of the first works built to transform the marshland into a rice paddy. After crossing the Vado de los Vaqueros, you will enter the marshland through the Muro de Poniente de Entremuros, leaving the wet channel on your left and the transformed Galician marshland on your right. The next public service you will find is at the José Antonio Valverde Visitor Centre, more than 30 km from the starting point.

The route actually follows the walls attached to the wetlands that border the perimeter of the agricultural area. This way, you can see both the wetlands of the former marshland and the waterlogged areas within the agricultural or transformed areas. 

This is an obligatory world reference place for any birdwatcher. Bomba de Sarteneja, Vuelta de la Arena, Casa de Bombas, Brazo de la Torre, Caño Travieso, Lucio del Cangrejo, Huerta Tejada, Muro de la FAO, Lucio del Lobo, Lucio de Resolimán, Cerrado Garrido, La Escupidera, Caño del Guadiamar, Veta Hornito, Hato Ratón, Dehesa de Pilas, Charcones de la Cigüeña, La Cangrejera, Vado de Don Simón…, are ideal locations for ornithological and scenic stops. Many of these places are mythical toponyms, as they are home to many birds that have become symbols. Flocks of geese, cranes, spoon-billed ducks, among others, will mingle with the presence of groups of stone-curlews, plovers or little bitterns. Birds of prey can also be seen, such as the short-toed eagle, the imperial eagle and the peregrine falcon. Among the aquatic birds, the observations of the pin-tailed duck, the marbled teal or the red-crested pochard are coveted.

Points of interest
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