Poblet Natural Site of National Interest located in the municipalities of Vimbodí-Poblet and l’Espluga de Francolí, in the south of the county, forms part of the Prades Mountains. The terrain is markedly mountainous and the maximum altitude is at Tossal de la Baltasana, with 1.201m. However, the northern part, around Poblet Monastery, is flatter with crops growing, mainly vines.
The main gullies that pass through the Park form part of the headwaters of the River Francolí. We would also like to highlight the large number of fountains that spring up from inside the massifs. The first group of fountains is located in the upper parts, just when there is contact between the limestone and the clay rocks. In this group we find fountains that are popularly known as the Deport, Boixets, TresVirtuts fountains…
The second group of fountains spring from the lowest part of the Park, next to the Poblet fault, the slates retain the infiltrated water, along with the sediment on the plains where the water coming from the massifs is stored. In this section we find the source of, among others, the Nerola fountain or iron and magnesium tasting fountains, and the Abat Siscar, right next to the Masies road.
We can therefore see geological diversity marked by the Poblet fault that runs through the Park from east to west and that can be seen at various point. So, from the highest points we find the calcareous clifftop where the Pena viewpoint stands. Supported on reddish materials, the conglomerates can be seen along the path that goes down to the Pena forest house to the ice well. Under these materials, and which are much older, we find the slates that are all over the Park, but few outcrops show as much slate as the Mata-rucs trail. Also under this material we can find granite rocks, very easy to recognise in the Castellfollit Valley, aboveall at dusk when the granite of the majestic Roc Ponent fills up with reddish tones coming from the sun’s rays. Finally, at the foot of the massif, near Poblet Monastery and the vineyards, there are more modern materials like clay, marl, sandstone and conglomerates caused by the formation of the Ebro Basin.
Regarding the Park’s flora and fauna, we would highlight the great variety of vegetable communities that are typical in forest environments, like the coastal oak, in the lower parts, and the mountain oak, a community that dominates the others to a certain degree. We would also highlight the downy oak woods in the upper, shady part of the Pena; the Pyrenean oak wood in the most easterly part just next to Prades; the yew tree, although its origins are Euro-Siberian there are still many shady, fresh places where it grows and, finally, we would highlight the secondary pinewoods, the result of plantations carried out at the start of the XX century, mostly cluster pine, but we can also find places with ancestors of Scots pine or, more towards the plain, Aleppo pinewoods, forming scrublands.
Most of the fauna species are typically Mediterranean, but certain orographic peculiarities have favoured the presence of some interesting species, like the small shrew, the Mediterranean horseshoe bat, the wood nuthatch, Bonelli’s eagle, the stag beetle and the salamander, among others. In order to protect these groups of species it was declared a Wild Fauna Refuge and climbing is regulated to reduce the affectation of nesting species in specific places within the Park.
Finally, we would highlight the cultural and architectonic heritage that can be found in Poblet Forest, especially Poblet Monastery, the various ice wells throughout the Park and the forest houses, old Cistercian farms.
In order to conserve the natural and cultural assets whilst enjoying everything Poblet Forest has to offer, certain leisure activities and circulating in motor vehicles are regulated. Therefore, visitors are provided with facilities and services, information and signposting about the itineraries on foot, MTB routes, interpretative activities, both during the week and at weekends, and about activities of a more ludic nature for different age groups.