Today the system of steppe lagoons constitutes the largest natural wetland in Castilla y León.
Situated in the middle of the Tierra de Campos region, during the winter months the system consists of 500 hectares of flooded land, divided up mainly between three large lagoons: the “Laguna Grande” (Big Lagoon), the “Laguna de Barillos (Barillo Lagoon) and the “Laguna de las Salinas o de Villarrín” (Salt Flats or Villarrín Lagoon), accompanied by any number of smaller lagoons. Its marked seasonality, with periods of flooding and of drought, characterize these lagoons, depending on the level of rainfall of any given year.
The high concentration of mineral salts meant that in bygone times they were exploited as salt marshes, making them economically very valuable.
Situated in the middle of a seemingly infinite landscape of crops, they are nonetheless possessed of a special beauty, above all at dawn and dusk.
The wetlands provide a refuge for so many different types of migratory birds that this protected sight has become one of the most important wintering grounds in the Iberian Peninsula.
At the same time, the dry land which also forms part of the Reserve is home to one of the largest populations of Great Bustards in Europe.
One of the major attractions of the Casona Palomares is the privileged nature of its surroundings: The Natural Reserve of the Lagoons of Villafáfila, the viewpoints from which there are unparalleled views, and the various points of interest which can be found only a few kilometres from the Casona. Truly a luxury for lovers of nature and those looking to discover new places.
On this huge plain, the true stars are the birds, with large flocks of steppe birdlife including the largest population of Great Bustards in the world. Other birds such as Montagu´s Harrier, Lesser Kestrels, the Common Crane, the Little Bustard, Black-necked Stilts, Avocets, Red Kites…, find in these fields one of their last strongholds. For this reason it is a unique and singular enclave in a European context.
If one were to describe a bird with a wing-span of two-and-a-half metres which weighs up to 19kg, and if one also said that it was the heaviest animal in the world capable of winged flight, one would be tempted to head first to the interminable African savanna.
A characteristic element of the countryside is the dovecotes.
A dovecote is a typical mud-walled construction, known since the Roman times for the breeding and rearing of doves.
There are in total 68 buildings, some in ruins, some in excellent condition. The most common amongst them are the circular and rectangular constructions with an inner patio.