Guardamar dunes and pinewoods
800 hectares of Dunes and Pine Forest
The Dunes and Pine Forest of Guardamar del Segura are declared a Site of Community Interest (SCI). It is one of the most beautiful natural spots on the Costa Blanca. The dunes are formed from the sands contributed by the sea, forming a several dune cords that covers the entire district coastline, from north to south. They are a very attractive space where you can take a walk by the sea surrounded by nature.
This forest space bordering the Mediterranean coast has 800 hectares (almost 2,000 acres). Originally, it was a set of moving sand dunes that were fixed planting different species such as pine, palm, cypresses and eucalyptus trees.
Guardamar Sand Dunes Reforestation and Town Defence Project
On December 2, 1897, the Guardamar Sand Dunes Reforestation and Town Defence Project was passed by a Royal Decree, thus laying the first stone in an innovative process for the time and with excellent results for the population of Guardamar, since the advance of the dunes threatened the future of the town.
The intense deforestation that took place in the River Segura’s basin from the 18th century to the early 19th century, together with the erosive processes of the river over the unprotected basin, caused a considerable increase in sediments. These were later redistributed along the coastline by the action of the sea. The force of the easterly wind put the icing on this bitter cake, mobilising these sediments inland.
Thus, the dunes advanced at a rate of between 2 and 8 meters per year. To fix these dunes, a reforestation project was lead by the forest engineer Francisco Mira y Botella. The reforestation, which began in 1900 and ended in the 1930s, has given rise to the current consolidated coastal forest mass, known as ‘la pineda’ or ‘pinewoods’. In it a nursery and several forest buildings – from the early 20th century – are preserved.
The more than 600,000 trees planted over four decades created a landscape environment of extraordinary ecological, tourist and cultural appeal.
The Tree Festival
One of the legacies of the reforestation process is the Tree Festival, in which new trees are planted in the pinewoods.
The Tree Festival’s first celebration in Guardamar was held in 1904. It was an event open to everybody but focused on children. These ‒ under the guidance of their school teachers ‒ planted trees and sang anthems.
Currently, the Tree Festival is still being held in Guardamar on the 31st January every year. It hasn’t lost its original formative spirit.
Archaeological secrets in the sand
The Guardamar Sand Dunes are home to two important archaeological sites: the Phoenician port city of La Fonteta (8th-6th century BC) and the Rábita or Ribat Caliphate Monastery (10th-11th century AD), one of the most important historic religious mediaeval Islamic monuments in Spain.
Separated by almost two thousand years and a thick layer of sand, the cultural, historical and monumental relevance of both sites places them among the most important ruins of their kind, not only in the Iberian peninsula but also in all the western Mediterranean.
Guardamar has three large parks that contribute to the increase of green areas in our municipality: