From the nearby town of Lumbier you reach a car park located just a few metres from the entry to the gorge. The Foz de Lumbier is carved out of the limestone rock by the river Irati at the western end of the Leyre range of mountains, at the foot of the Navarrese Pyrenees. It is one of the most spectacular gorges in Navarre, a landscape created over millions of years by the waters of the river Irati, which have left their mark on this sanctuary of nature day by day. The gorge was declared a Nature Reserve in 1987.
Lumbier is a narrow and small gorge, just 1,300 metres long, but of spectacular beauty. Its vertical walls reach a maximum height of 150 metres and large birds of prey live in the cracks and ledges, with species such as griffon vultures and lammergeirs (bearded vultures). It is also a refuge for foxes, boar, badgers and owls, and is strewn with gall and kermes oaks and bushes such as thyme, lavender and gorse that hang from the cracks of the limestone cliffs. The vegetation that is transformed into woods of poplars, willows and ash trees at the entry and exit of the gorge.
You can walk through Lumbier along an easy track the Greenway of the Lumbier gorge that runs along the bottom of the cliffs for 2.6 kilometres. The route was created for the old Irati train (the first electric train in Spain) that linked Pamplona with Sangüesa between 1911 and 1955.
The signposted path runs along the river and crosses the rock through two tunnels (167 and 206 metres long) that do not have artificial light. Towards the end of the path the route goes around the rock and reaches the remains of the Puente del Diablo (Devil's Bridge), which was built in the 16th century with a raised arch 15 metres above the river. It was destroyed by the French in 1812 during the War of Independence, and owes its name to a legend that says that its builder asked the devil for help to finish it.
There is a second route a local path (5.5 kilometres long) that starts from the same point. Signposted with green and white marks and wooden posts, the route goes around the gorge and returns to the car park through it. With a length of just over 6 kilometres and a difference in height of 175 metres and offers excellent views of the surrounding area.
One of the attractive features of this nature reserve is birdwatching. Enjoy the elegant flight of the griffon vultures from viewpoint of the NA-178 road a short distance from the junction with the road to Jaca. From here you can see a feeding place of the vultures and the spectacle of the enormous birds suspended in the air before they swoop down on their prey.
Lumbier (Irunberri in Basque language) is a village in Spain and a municipality of the Chartered Community of Navarre ( Comunidad Foral de Navarra), in the province and autonomous community of Navarre, in the north of Spain, 38 km from the capital of the community Pamplona. It has a population of about 1400. It stands on the River Salazar in a region of natural interest. It also has interesting historical connections.
It is believed that the present village of Lumbier goes back to ancient times to the communities of the Vascones mentioned by Roman geographers such as Pliny the Elder which included those known as the iluberritani, which traditionally have been associated with the village of Lumbier. Some Roman remains have been found in Lumbier and the remains of a Roman and Celtic villa have been found in the nearby municipality of Liédena.
Starting from its ancient name of Ilumberri, linguists have reconstructed the development of its present forms.
Regarding the etymological significance of Ilumberri, it is believed that it comes from archaic Basque. The first part seems to be the same as in place names such as Irún or Iruña (Pamplona), and it has been traditionally associated with the word hiri o (h)ili (town) in Euskera. The second part berri means 'new'; thus its etymological meaning would be similar to 'new town'.
At present, Lumbier is located in the non-basque-speaking area of Navarre, so its Castilian name is the only official one, though the place-name "Irunberri" is still used. The inhabitants of Lumbier are generally erroneously referred to as "gatos" ('cats'); the correct expression is "ahorcagatos" (cat-hangers'), which dates back to the Spanish War of Independence, when a number of French sympathisers from Madrid ("cats") were caught trying to flee to France and they were hung here.
Coat of arms
The coat of arms of Lumbier has the following blazon:
A castle with three towers argent each with three crenallations on an azure field. The central tower is higher than the side ones. The castle is flanked by an eight-pointed star sinister and a reversed crescent argent dexter.
The ancient seal of the village has, in addition to those items just mentioned, a crescent sinister and a star dexter to the central tower, and appears in the Charter of Union (Carta de Unión) whoch was signed by all the towns and villages of Navarre at Puente la Reina in 1328.
Lumbier is located in the western part of the autonomous region of Navarre at an altitude of 467 metres above sea level. Its municipal area has an area of 57.40 km² and has borders on the northern side with the municipalities of Urraúl Bajo and Romanzado, on the eastern side with the latter, on the southern side with those of Yesa, Liédena and Sangüesa and on the western side with that of Urraúl Alto.
Topology and hydrology
Two deep gorges(Foz) with rock faces of up to 300 metres high have been created by the Rivers Salazar and Irati in the foothills of the Sierra de Leire. The surrounding area consists of a wide valley with wheatfields, low Mediterranean countryside and Holm oak woods. There is deciduous and Common-pine woodland in the higher areas of Arangoiti (Sierra de Leire).
This area falls in the Site of Community Importance (Natura 2000 Network) and ZEPA (Special Bird Protection Area) "Sierra de Leire-Foz de Arbayún" which includes the "Arbayún Gorge", the "Lumbier Gorge" and "Acantilados de la Piedra y San Adrián" Natural Reserves.
It is located on the right bank of river Salazar and near the left bank of the river Irati where it joins the river Salazar, on a flat hill which is 467 metres high. between a loamy hollow and a north-west outcrop of the Sierra de Leire.
Coordinates: 42°39′N1°18′W / 42.650°N 1.300°W / 42.650; -1.300
- ^Blog de Toponimia de Mikel Belasko published in Diccionario etimológico de los nombres de los pueblos, villas y ciudades de Navarra. Apellidos navarros. Editorial Pamiela, Pamplona, 1996. 2ª ed, 1999.
- ^OTAZU RIPA, Jesús Lorenzo (1999). Gobierno de Navarra, ed. Navarra - Temas de Cultura Popular n.º 288, Heráldica Municipal de la Merindad de Sangüesa I. p. 19. ISBN 84-235-0076-4.
- ^Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Navarra (ed.). "Artículo de Ezcároz". Gran Enciclopedia Navarra. Retrieved 13 January 2013. [permanent dead link]