The Serpis River and its surroundings from Alcoi down to Gandia are declared a protected natural area of the Valencian Community. It has a length of 50 kilometres and an approximate surface of 10,000 hectares, it is a unique space for its scenic, ecological and cultural values, derived from a historical harmonious relationship between humans and the natural environment.
The villages of this vast territory, scattered along the river, draw a cultural itinerary where the landscapes become history. This relationship is reflected in the integration of towns and roads into the landscape, in orchards highlighting the natural topography, in the unique irrigation systems derived from the river and the architecture generated by them, or in the topographical elements that shape the region’s identity, such as slopes, mountain ridges or border stones.
The river is bounded to the north by the Mariola and Benicadell mountain ranges, and to the south by the Safor, Cuta, Alfaro, Serrella and Aitana mountain ranges. This section of the Serpis River between the provinces of València and Alacant acts, in ecological and territorial terms, as a connecting element between the mountains and the coast, forming an exceptional mosaic of ecosystems and landscapes. Once the river leaves its narrow passage in the mountainous area, through the imposing places of the Barranc de l’Infern and the Racó del Duc, it reaches the plain terrains near Vilallonga. From this point, the river widens and loses slope, with an increasingly deeper riverbed, forming meanders and spectacular pools full of life.
There are aquatic animal species of great interest, such as the frog shrimp (Dugastella valentina), the water snail (Melanopsis dufouri), the Iberian chub (Leuciscus pyrenaicus) and the barb fish (Barbus bocagei), among others. In the mountain slopes and around the riverbed we can find birds such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus), the eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) and the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).
Among the riverside vegetation, we find the poplar (Populus nigra) and to a lesser extent the white poplar (Populus alba), both deciduous. Several species of willows (Salix eleagnos, S.fragilis) are also present in some sections of the river, as well as the abundant oleander (Nerium oleander). It is also easy to find tamarinds (Tamarix gallica) and brumble (Rubus ulmifolius). Wild canes (Arundo donax) are plentiful along the riverbed, on the river bank we find reed (Phragmites australis), a more stylized cane that requires the presence of water. Along the river banks we find as well bulrush (Typha latifolia), watercresses (Roripa nasturtium-aquaticum), fool’s watercresses (Apium nodiflorum) and pondweeds (Potamogeton natans and P. pectinatus).