This reserve is managed through an agreement between the neighborhood council of Maoño (Santa Cruz de Bezana) and FNYH.

Mount Peñas Negras is located at the crossroads between the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Bezana, Camargo and Piélagos, although the reserve is entirely situated in Santa Cruz de Bezana.

Peñas Negras is characterized by the presence of a relict forest as the Cantabrian holm oak forest. The presence of these forests can be considered as a relict of an earlier time when the climate was arid, similar to the conditions of the interior of the Iberian Peninsula. An evergreen forest has remained in the Cantabrian Mountains in soils with lower water holding capacity, mainly limestone and steep mountains.

The most characteristic species is the holm oak, tree or shrub with evergreen leaves, whose acorns are prized among the fauna. It is accompanied by other species with succulent fruits as strawberry tree, holly, blackthorn, hazel or butcher’s-broom. In addition to these, the gorse, a small shrub, covers much of the reserve in competition with the holm oaks. Also, there are areas in the reserve covered by eucalyptus, which are being gradually replaced by native forest, through the work of management.

This relict forest hosts plenty of wildlife. Among all the species are especially interesting nocturnal birds, such as owl, tawny owl or little owl, and diurnal birds such as buzzard, sparrowhawk or kestrel. The most common mammals are foxes, badgers, martens and weasels.

The reservation is provided with interpretive marked trails, interpretive signage and a splendid viewpoint at the top of the Alto de Gigüela. This path allows visitors to get into the holm oak forest and observe from above the views offered by the environment of the Bay of Santander.

FNYH is currently working in the forest in order to prevent the spread of invasive species, promote the development of a mature holm oak forest and to prevent the spread of blazes.


  • Neighborhood council of Maoño
  • Santa Cruz de Bezana Town Hall
  • Counselling of the Environment of the Regional Government of Cantabria.

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