Somiedo Nature Park spans five valleys - Saliencia, Valle del Lago, Puerto y Pola de Somiedo, Perlunes and Pigüeña - and the five rivers of the same name, covering an area of 283 square kilometres.
Humans have managed to understand the nature of the Park, which has returned the care they have taken of it by remaining virtually unchanged throughout the centuries. Even today, it constitutes an example of full integration and coexistence.
The outstanding element in its landscape is the beauty of the lakes, situated to the south of the borough of Somiedo, high up in the mountain ranges separating Somiedo from León: the three small lakes of Saliencia; the Lago del Valle, with its characteristic islet, which is the largest lake in Asturias, with an average radius of 280 metres and an average depth of 10 metres, although it reaches 50 metres in some areas; and the hidden Lagunas del Páramo, between the valleys of the Rivers Somiedo and Pigüeña.
It is one of the most rugged landscapes in Asturias, with slopes rising from 400 to 2,200 metres. The territory as a whole boasts outstanding geological features, including a wide variety of materials such as limestone, siliceous minerals, sandstones, etc., giving rise to spectacular karst forms. Valleys dotted with minerals such as iron and veins of arsenic, mercury, lead, marble and granite. An area of contrasts between peaks and troughs, revealing the footprint of tectonic movements it was subjected to in numerous thrusts, faults and folds.
Brañas, or mountain meadows, can be found throughout the entire territory, with fertile pastures where you can see, not without difficulty, the area's famous cabanas de teito de escoba: broom-and-shrub-thatched stone cabins used by the vaqueiros de alzada (nomadic herdsmen) and mountain cattle breeders for shelter. Currently there are over 500 of these stone cabins scattered throughout the park. In the surrounding area, even today livestock continues to be moved from one pasture to another in search of the best grazing.
Average annual temperatures in the area are around 9°C at the bottom of valleys, while higher up it descends at a rate of about 0.5°C per 100 metres. Snowfall is common in the winter months above 1,200 metres, the coldest months being January and February, and the warmest, July, August and September. There is a considerable difference in temperature between the two periods, a characteristic feature of continental climate.
It was declared a Nature Park in 1988, the first of the areas in the Principality of Asturias to receive this distinction. Among other objectives, this decision was intended to achieve the conservation of its ecosystems, habitats and species, improve the lives of its inhabitants and keep the area's ethnographic heritage and cattle-breeding activities compatible with its conservation.
Time has proven that these objectives have been attained.