From the highest cliff face in the North Atlantic to the oldest working lighthouse in the world, Galicia is home to myriad material and non-material treasures throughout its geography. One of these curious Galician prodigies is hidden in the heart of the Souto de Retorta in the city of Viveiro, an idyllic corner where tree species reaching and even exceeding 80 meters coexist and where some of the tallest eucalypts grow. There are trees too. and the peoples of old all over Europe. In fact, of the approximately 600 giant specimens that line the banks of the Landro River, “O Avo de Chavín” (in honor of the parish in which it is located) is considered the largest and most widespread eucalypt in the whole of Galicia. Until last year, the Lugo tree also held the title at the European level, but a reduction in its size due to a fungus and the appearance of a large specimen in Coimbra (Portugal) have caused it to lose its place in the rankings.
This forest of giant eucalyptus trees was officially declared a protected natural area and natural monument in February 2000. They may have been, according to various expert sources, based on the testimony of former heirs to the estate, including Vivero’s Eucalyptus Tree, engineer Ignacio Sánchez. It was planted between 1860 and 1912 with the aim of draining low-lying areas as flood protection after several overflows of the Landro River. It is also known that five of Chavín’s trees belong to the first plantation and most of them are part of a second and third replantation carried out by owner Xosé Barro between 1895 and 1912. An authentic natural jewel from Marina Lucense that is worth a visit.
Given the continuing decline of Galician eucalyptus, last November a Portuguese specimen won first place in the struggle to be the tallest tree in Europe. With a height of 73 meters and a further six in the circumference of the trunk, this spectacular Eucalyptus of the species Karri or Variegated Color (native to the wettest areas of the southwest of Western Australia) grows under the protection of other tree species. Cañas, very near the Portuguese city of Coimbra.
More curiosities about Souto da Retorta
The Souto da Retorta is built in a strategic point less than three kilometers in a straight line from the Viveiro coast, in a narrow, low-altitude valley surrounded by peaks over 600 meters high that protect the environment from frost and rain. Saves. , In addition, it is an area of great forest production where the specimens of trees growing there reach enormous dimensions compared to other regions of Galicia. And we’re not just talking about eucalyptus forests, but also other native varieties like chestnut, alder, oak, and birch.
The banks of the Landro River are littered with specimens belonging to the variety known as white eucalyptus or blue eucalyptus. In the particular case of O Avo, and although it is not the largest tree within the retorta tree complex at the moment, its shape is distinct for both its thickness and its antiquity, it is believed to be the oldest Eucalyptus in the region when it reaches an age reaches. Close to 130 years. When the face of O Avó de Chavín broke the size record for the entire European continent, it had a dimension of about 71.4 m and a circumference of 7.6 m. However, it is important to note that this emblematic specimen is affected by a fungus and has been decreasing in size over several decades. Currently, the Galician Eucalyptus barely reaches 57 m in height, although the girth of the trunk has increased in size.
Given the continuing decline of Galician eucalyptus, last November a Portuguese specimen won first place in the struggle to be the tallest tree in Europe. With a height of 73 meters and a further six in the circumference of the trunk, this spectacular eucalypt of the Karri or variegated color species (native to the wettest areas of the southwest of Western Australia) grows under the protection of other tree species in the Canas Valley, Portuguese Very close to downtown Coimbra.
Other tourist attractions in the area
Like the Souto da Retorta, the river network of the Landro River preserves other important specimens of nature and native Galician vegetation along its banks. A great example of this can be found in the wooded area of Val do Naceiro, a magical enclave known for the celebration of the famous Romeria do Naceiro, a popular festival that takes place every year on the fourth Sunday of August. . But beyond its forests, the Landro River also hides many rapids and waterfalls of great beauty along its course: O Salto do Can and O Pozo da Ferida, two of the oldest waterfalls, located a few kilometers from the eucalyptus grove. seen in the area.
Particularly special is the case of the Pojo da Farida, a natural treasure that forms a vertical drop of 30 metres. The waterfall in question originates from the Juderío River (a tributary of the Landro) and ends in a small circular pool surrounded by vegetation native to the environment. Furthermore, from this point you can also see an old dam that was used in the past to provide water to Chavín’s small hydroelectric power plant.