Pantano de Elche - Elche Reservoir
Pantano de Elche is situated just over 70km from Benidorm and 5km north from Elche itself and is a wonderful area to visit with nature reserve and swampland teaming with interesting and colourful flora & fauna.
The lake and vast swamp marshes have been formed over many years after the construction of the dam wall which was the first arch type dam wall to be built in Europe since Roman times. It lies in a vast natural basin which forms the lake, surrounded by arid countryside, orchards with ravines. The whole area has many excellent hiking and mountain bike trails.
The most popular feature of the nature reserve, especially with families out for a picnic, is the area below the dam wall where the water overflows from the lake creating spectacular natural waterfalls
There is a ladder set in the rocks beside the waterfall which gives you assess to the upper part of the reservoir or follow the rock path set just behind the centro electrical building., this gives you fantastic views of the top of the falls and the reservoir itself.
The dam built in the seventeenth century (1632) and contains the water of the Vinalopó River and is the second oldest active reservoir in Spain. The dam was damaged due to heavy rain and flooding in 1793 and was out of action until 1846 when it was repaired, sadly in 1995 the regulatory gate of the dam was broken and was repaired in 2007. The dam itself is no longer in use which allows water to permanently over the dam wall.
Today the Elche reservoir is recognized as an Asset of Cultural Interest by the Valencian Community.
The dam is 22 meters high and 75 meters wide., the walls are 12 meters thick at the base and 9 meters at the top.
In 2019 a floating platform was built on the reservoir where you can walk above the water for a short distance.
Nature enthusiasts will be in their element due to the amount of flora & fauna of the area. The surrounding countryside, ravines, swampland, marshes and lake form an intricate microclimate and this area is an important natural feature of the municipality of Elche and the entire area is protected.
There are literally hundreds of different species of trees, plants, shrubs and flowers, bird life includes a variety of waterfowl as well as majestic birds of prey. The lake and marshes are teeming with fish and reptiles, and you may even spot the odd wild boar. You can also see foxes, ferrets, various types of mice, and if you're lucky, a very elusive Genet cat.
El Cau de Elche
Whist in this area another great place to visit is the El Cau de Elche, a FREE open air museum, containing over 100 sculptures made of sandstone and just a short drive or an hours walk across the mountain trails. Find more information here.