Since 2005 Noëlle Griffiths has spent time in the Sierra de Montánchez and made many paintings and artist's books inspired by the landscape, birds and quality of light.
Noëlle studied Fine Art at St Martin's School of Art, London 1978-82. She lives in Snowdonia, North Wales and has taught art part-time since 1987. Currently she teaches on the part-time BA (Hons) Fine Art course at Bangor University as well as from her studio in Wales and Spain.
Extremadura is rich in wonderful wildlife. Birds flock here in huge numbers, in winter thousands of European Cranes arrive. At other times of the year azure-winged magpies, bee eaters, goldon orioles, vultures, eagles, hoopoes can all be seen.
It is perfect for bird watchers, artists, walkers or those who wish to visit the historic towns of TRUJILLO, MÉRIDA and CÁCERES.
Finca Acehuche ~ (top) relaxing in the hammock with spring flowers, (bottom) Finca Acehuche with surrounding olive groves and vines in summer (photo: Paul Thompson)
Summer views from Finca Acehuche and local walks, Pedro the horse at the old stone entrance
Embalse de Prosepina
Wild flowers are at their best between March and June.
Excellent bird watching in Extremadura
Extremadura is the size of Switzerland but sparsely populated and 74% of its land is designated as IBA (Important Bird Areas) - the highest of any region in Europe. Good times to visit are : end of FEBRUARY and MARCH when the winter populations are reducing and the first wave of summer migrants arrive; APRIL, MAY and JUNE with full breeding activity; end of OCTOBER and NOVEMBER is a transitional time when the summer visitors depart. Late October though to March the region provides a safe winter home for thousands of Eurasian cranes.
"We stayed in a lovely Finca just outside Montánchez, south of Trujillo, the accommodation was accessed up a 1 km track in a totally quiet and secluded situation among old Olive Groves and Vineyards. Wildlife abounded there and while we sat on the terrace in the evening, relaxing or eating dinner with a very nice bottle of the local wine, Hoopoes, Bee Eaters and Woodchat Shrikes among many others were regular visitors. It was an idyllic location and one which is highly recommended." Steve Wilce see his blog about birds and wildlife seen around Finca Acehuche early May 2013
MÉRIDA, founded in 25 BC as the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, it is considered to contain the finest Roman remains in Spain. It has a Roman theatre, amphitheatre and temples as well as the National Museum of Roman Art.
CÁCERES, the old town is a World Heritage Site with well preserved stone mansions and palaces within ancient Moorish walls, as well as mueums and a fine contemporary art gallery.
FESTIVALS : Mérida Semana Santa at easter, Merida Festival Teatro Clasico end June - end August www.festivaldemerida.es
Cáceres WOMAD mid May www.womad.org
Montánchez Enceuntros de Culturas Oriente-Occidente late August www.montanchez.net
Madrid Veranos de la Villa early July - late August www.esmadrid.com/veranosdelavilla
BIRD WATCHING : Extremadura is well known for its birds and wildlife: Parque Natural de Monfrague is north east of Cáceres, and Parque Natural de Cornalvo is north east of Merida