Blog | Spanish farmhouse near Seville | B&B Aracena | Self-catering cottages Andalucia

The blog of Finca Buenvino Bed & Breakfast near Aracena, Seville, Andalucia, Spain in the Sierra de Aracena National Park. Set amongst a chestnut and cork-oak forest we operate as a family B&B and self-catering holiday cottages. We run cookery courses, photography courses, creative writing retreats and fitness retreats. Hiking trails and stunning views.

The joys of living in a natural park.

It's said that living in a natural park  has it's advantages. Advantages, I suppose, because it attracts grants for the local government to promote tourism and activities and in theory it creates employment.  Most of this  appears to be within the bureaucracy itself; park police, inspectors, pen pushers.

The disadvantages are more obvious to us; the slow paper movement, the rules and the bureaucracy for those who live within its boundaries. For example we could have started to prune and pollard our chestnut trees at the beginning of the month, but first we had to prepare a petition to do so, fill in the forms, and wait for one of the inspectors to roll up at an inconvenient hour. That took about one week. We have the nod, but now we have to wait for the paper permits to arrive. It's usually about three weeks to a month in all. Of course you will say that we should have filled in the application earlier, but all the business of paperwork puts people off and it's not always possible to be thinking of the business of the day, or the month when it is not the season; or else when the person who is going to do the work is not available.

Looking over the landscape it is possible to see areas that are worse administrated than they were before the creation of the park. Bureaucracy discourages smallholders from investing energy and money into the land, when it seems they are consistently banging their heads against a brick wall, being told that no, they cannot plant an olive tree, nor repair a shed.

Gardening is also a problem. Once we had put up a pergola, and the young 'townie' who turned up to ook our place over, informed us that we would not be allowed to plant anything to grow over it which was not native. We had been thinking of wisteria, or vitis cognitae for shade and colour. Whe  I asked what he would advise, he suggested brambles. On the other hand, the ministry of agriculture is giving out grants to remove brambles and to clear scrub....well this is only hearsay as we have never received them.

Grumble grumble.