After your way by the oak grove in Alto do Vento you will arrive at Bosque do Peregrino, a location with a wood lookout, surrounded by a small plantation of native hardwoods, which offers a panoramic view of val da Maía which allows us to understand the main characteristics of the Galician rural landscape as well as the role of the valley, the village and the parish in its configuration, historically and even today.
For PEFC, landscapes are spaces which must be considered in forest management according not only their singular, cultural or aesthetic values, but also the harmonious relationship between mankind and environment.
What to know?
The landscape is a historical construction as a result of the interaction between nature and human being. For this reason, the landscape is in continuous transformation, so understanding the landscape allows us to understand the communities living there.
Communities used to live in the highlands of the mountains until the Iron Age, since they were ideal for the survival of societies based on hunting and food collection, and the ones starting to work on the land with basic tools. Galician people (also called “castrexos”) are the ones who start to go down to the lowlands, improving the farming tools and consolidating farming as a way of life. This gradual descent will continue along the centuries, turning the valley into the axis of the Galician territorial organization.
Living in a territory always implies a certain intervention on it. However, the biggest changes will take place from the arrival of the Romans, who will create landscapes with terraces, paths, irrigation canals… This way, the substitution of the natural by the artificial environment starts, and it will increase during the years.
From the Ventosa lookout or Bosque do Peregrino, you can see Val da Maía .The population centres are located at the lowlands of the valley, where the farming and grazing areas are also located, since the richest and most humid lands are there; the hillsides are devoted to forest use, because they are more difficult to work due to the slope; and in the highlands we can find vegetation which adapts to the poorest lands. Therefore, the occupation of the territory is related to the characteristics of the different ecological land types...
From the same lookout you can also appreciate some other population characteristics in Galicia .You will see that the houses are spread all around the valley. In Galicia, the territorial occupation density is really high; in fact, half of the population centres in
You will also notice that it is very difficult to know if it is only a population centre or several ones close to each other. In Galician rural areas, the house are grouped in little villages called aldeas (sometimes even smaller groups called lugares or casais), which can be close or far among them. But they are always connected with paths and they are binded together in immaterial relationships, such as local parties or community work. At the same time, the “aldeas” are grouped in “parroquias”(parish); a concept related to Christianity which refers to a territory under the spiritual management of a priest (“párroco”), but it is related to the collective organizations mentioned before, so, taking into account that the valley is the main spot where life is organised, it is logical that the borders of the parishes coincide with their limits.
The parish (” parroquia”) is the basic administrative unity, and the group of several parishes forms a “concello” (council); several councils form a province, being four in Galicia: A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. However, it’s the little village (aldea) or parish (parroquia) what defines the identity in Rural Galician areas.
The immediate urbanization built close to the lookout reminds us a common phenomenon nowadays. From the second half of the 20th century a population migration towards city centres is taking place, what implies an ongoing desertion of rural areas and their traditional sustenance system based on farming, shepherding and forestry. Many of the people who are leaving the rural areas keep their houses, but just with the intention of spending their holidays there. Some of the ones who stay keep working on the primary sector, some others do not stop farming, but they do other activities, such as rural tourism. However, more and more people working in other sectors in towns or cities live in little villages, maybe because they were born there and they have a house there or maybe because they are trying to improve in rural areas their quality of life. This is obviously more common in councils near big cities.
Toponymy & Forest
Pay attention to the Toponymy!
Toponymies are the names used to identify the different places of the territory. They usually refer to a special area or the most significant building located there, to the use given to that territory and the most common plant species. For that reason, their study let us know our history more deeply.
The name Ventosa refers to the weather conditions of the area. On your way you will go through some little villages following the same logic, and you will notice numerous places referring to the importance of forests and trees in that location: CASTIÑEIRO DE LOBO, CARBALLO, OUTEIRO, SUSAVILA DE CARBALLO, TRASMONTE, SALGUEIRO…
The dispersal of the population centres, the distribution of the land in really small plots (small-scale farming) and the irregular orography, are some of the factors explaining the fact that more than 38.000 names of population centres (one third of the total in Spain )and more than 2.000.000 microtoponymies are located in Galicia.
However, the ageing of the population and the transformation of the traditional way of life are risking that wealth. In order to safe ward it; Xunta de Galicia has just started up the platform Galicia Nomeada: Enter the name of the population centre and you will see all the documented toponymies up to now in the surroundings.
Other points of interest
The highlands were occupied by prehistorical societies; each of them using a different occupation model. The highlands surrounding the Bosque do Peregrino are full of petroglyphs from the Bronze Age. You will learn more about our prehistory in this park Compostela Rupestre.
VISIT: it is located in the forest, but it is not marked, so a GPS is needed.
Source: Idoliform. Collective to Rula.
The petroglyphs are carved in the rocks; in some cases in order to demarcate a territory, in some others they are property marks or they are used to show paths. In Galicia there are more than 3.400 classified petroglyphs, from prehistoric and historical era. The prehistoric ones were made with stone tools and the historical ones with metal tools, so the marks are different, but it is not always easy to distinguish them. The carved images are different. In the prehistoric petroglyphs, circles, small pans, spirals or anthropomorphic figures are represented if they follow a geometrical style; and guns, horses or deer if they follow a naturalist one. In the historical petroglyphs, crosses (Christianizing pagan places or marking borders) and horseshoes are the most typical.
The councils of Compostela, Ames, Brión, Teo and Val do Dubra have just built the park Compostela Rupestre, which is formed by many of the carvings located in Ventosa surroundings. Most of them were made in the Bronze Age, about 4.000 years ago; for example the Petróglifo da Peneda Negra (Black Rock Petroglyph). Here you can download its position and a carbon copy, since the erosion of the rock and the light condition can determine its display.
It is located in the hillside, facing the valley and with a visual control of it, what is characteristic of this type of petroglyph. The rock measures about 80m x 20m, and the carvings are located in its flattest part. Most of the representations are small pans, simple circles, circles with small pans inside them, circular combinations or similar shapes, but there are two animal figures too; one of them is a male deer with big horns.
The role of PEFC
To integrate the knowledge related to landscape in the forest territory management.
Landscapes are spaces which must be considered in forest management according not only their singular, cultural or aesthetic values, but also the harmonious relationship between mankind and environment.
To promote the knowledge related to leisure, landscape and culture in their land among the owners and forest agents, as well as the consequences that their acts can have in their conservation, is one of the many PEFC goals.
In order to get the certification of a forest, the owner or forest agent must have a planning, that is to say, they must have a management plan made by a Forestry Engineer or one approved by the suitable professional association or the appropriate authority. In the management document it is necessary to do an in-depth analysis of the forest area: inventory of species, sanitary condition, limitation of the use of the forest or existence of any special protection figure (Protected natural areas, Areas with a special landscape interest, Rede Natura, endangered species, heritage items…). A suitable planning of the territory will be carried out taking into account the right diagnosis of the situation.