Action E.4 | “Bird Watching Path” in Gravina in Puglia

Considering that i) the town of Gravina in Puglia is not so big and ii) the diffuse feature of the conservation actions, the “Bird Watching Path” can start from the San Sebastiano Closter where aviaries, nursery (C3) and visiting centre are prepared or from the very centre, until you reach the bridge over the ravine.

Circular route of about 3.5 km total length travelled in 3 hours, with brief stops at scenic spots.

At the beginning and the end of the path, 2 notice boards will be placed informing about the contribution of LIFE financial instrument of the European Union, showing the LIFE+ and Natura 2000 Network logo and the project’s importance in terms of establishing the Natura 2000 network (see action E5).

The difficulty of the first part of the route is medium. Through this part is possible to get to the river and along the river bed for a long stretch. The second part, the return, is easy to follow winding along the edge of the ridge of the ravine.

The path starts from the bridge until it reaches a hill from which you can admire the creek ravine and, before it, the Park Robinson. It follows another stretch halfway which gradually downs to the river. Once the river is crossed, it is possible to walk along it towards north-west for a long stretch.
From here it is possible to experience a wonderful view, it is possible to admire the almost vertical faces of the ravine and the scarce shrubby vegetation. Along the torrent it is possible to observe the typical water vegetation of rush and sedge. Following the horizontal signals it is possible to reach the confluence of a lateral northern ramification of the ravine. In this riverbed some hackberry trees are present.
Few meters ahead there is a big rock on the riverbed of the stream from which, through a bridge in wood (to be realized) it is possible to access the part of the path that climbs on the other slope of the Gravina. This path leads to the higher part of a promontory with a panoramic view of the Gravina towards the Southern direction.
From here the route continues in plain on a wide and rocky path, easy to walk, along which lentisk and terebinth trees grow up. Following the horizontal signals it is possible to descend again into the ravine, towards the creek. Along this stretch, it is possible to meet little waterfalls. Once crossed again the river, it is possible to climb again but in the opposite side from which it is possible to reach a beautiful panoramic plain from which admiring again the Gravina creek downward from the top. From here it is possible to admire also the Swabian Castle, the Murgian Ridge, the stone bridge of the railroad in the northern part, while towards the South in the distance is possible to see the Difesa Grande Wood, towards West one can see the Botromagno’s Hill with the traditional stone terraces. For going back to the starting point, the route is all in plain following in the southern direction the western ridge of the ravine for arriving to an unpaved road running along the municipal panoramic road Santo Stefano. From here it is possible to reach a wide grazing camp facing the archaeological area.
Having as a Landmark the bell tower of the San Francesco’s Church (the only one seeble from this side) it is possible to walk ahead up to the unpaved road which runs along the archaeological excavations. This way is possible to reach the Archaeological Park entrance wicket and from here the panoramic view of the Madonna della Stella, before the bell tower of the rocky Church of Madonna della Stella. From here is possible to access again the historical centre of Gravina in Puglia from which we started our visit.
Along this path the project foresees walkway arrangements (ropes, boardwalks, pavements, wooden stairs) and the affixing of signals in compliance with the regional regulation on the naturalistic paths (5 showcases 100×70 and 1 start-path panel, fauna and flora signals).
This path is well suited for bird-watching activities because it pass through the part of the ravine located in the northern side of the viaduct, that is the more naturally preserved. Moreover on this side of the ravine nest some species of interest among them it is worth to enlist the buzzard, the raven, the kestrel, the owl, the thrush and the bee-eater, and of course the possibility to observe the lesser kestrel hunting on pastures in the rocky summit of the ravine.


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