Geoparque Mundial UNESCO

Nº10 – Canchos de las Sábanas rocky hills

Geoparque Villuercas > Nº10 – Canchos de las Sábanas rocky hills


The Canchos de las Sábanas are located to the east of the town of Berzocana, and can be reached by the road that connects this village with Cañamero (CC-21.1) and Solana de Cabañas (CC-22.1-4).

At the base of these monumental quartzite crags are also the Los Morales and Los Cabritos caves, which can be reached from the track that leads up to the Finca de la Sierra country house, where the route is well signposted.


From the access road to Berzocana there is a panoramic view of this geomorphological monument, where it is possible to observe the geological aspects described above, and from its summits we can see the extensive Trujillo peneplain, dominated by greywackes, shales and matrix-supported conglomerates of the Domo Extremeño group, where the villages of Berzocana, Solana, Garciaz and Aldeacentenera are located.

In the quartz-arenites we can find fossil traces of different marine invertebrates from the Ordovician period (Cruziana, Skolithos, Daedalus); We can also contemplate the great thickness of the Lower Ordovician “Alternancias con Skolithos”, and the black shales of the Ediacaran (Ibor Group) with good examples of algal filaments and metazoans (vendotaenids and sabelliditids),. The contact between this unit and the Skolithos series is only visible in very specific places. These are fossils of soft-bodied organisms (interpreted as algae and metazoans respectively), preserved as compressions in which only carbon films are visible. The shales of the Ibor Group are very easily weathered and are generally covered by debris or soils.

In addition, under the quartzite overhangs on the slopes of this mountain range are the Los Cabritos cave and the rocky shelter of El Risquillo de Paulino, with schematic cave paintings, whose anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs, dating from the Chalcolithic period, are archaeologically very interesting, and are therefore conveniently protected by a fence. See the route to the cave paintings of Berzocana.

We can also visit a curious “pedra caballera” (balancing rock) of quartzite nature, known as the Cabeza del Moro (the head of the Moor), as well as the nearby Municipal Botanical Garden, located on the grounds of the so-called “Alternancias con Skolithos”, a series underlying the Armorican Quartzite, rich in Skolithos trace fossils.

In Berzocana, a visit to the impressive parish church of San Juan Bautista, declared a Historic Monument of National Interest in 1977, is a must. According to an ancient tradition, the bones of San Fulgencio and Santa Florentina, brothers of San Leandro and San Isidoro de Sevilla, are kept there. We can also see the Geopark’s Regional Archaeological Interpretation Centre, where there is a replica of the famous Berzocana Treasure (8th century BC) and other archaeological pieces.


The Canchos de Las Sábanas are located on the south-western slopes of what is known as the Sierra Berzocana. Lithologically, they are made up of potent strata of Ordovician quartz sandstone (Armorican quartzite). Their orientationis parallel to the Armorican Quartzite strata that forms the south-western flank (tightly folded) of the Santa Lucía syncline. This is due to two closely linked folds that we call the Berzocana syncline and the Cañamero anticline, which extend from Cancho del Reloj to Cañamero. The first, in the shape of a U, is inclined, leaving its entire southwest flank exposed, forming the Sábanas. The other flank corresponds to the inverted U of the anticline and forms the upper crags of the sierra that extend as far as Cancho del Reloj. Between both rock formations there is a high valley which corresponds to the synclinal core.

Close to the road, the series with Skolithos is discordant over Ediacaran black shales (Ibor Group), which includes abundant and well-presered examples of fossils of vendotaenids and sabelliditids, with some significant deposits located in the cuts in the road from Berzocana to Cañamero. These are fossils of soft-bodied organisms (interpreted as algae and annelids respectively), which is why they have been preserved as compressions in which only the carbon films can be seen.