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Platja d'Espolla to Coves de Serinya (Banyoles)

Just outside Banyoles, close to the town of Fontcoberta, there is a big green star on the map for the Platja d'Espolla or Clot d'Espolla. Green stars generally mean places of special interest and our experience is that they are worth a visit. However, we didn't know exactly what we would see. There's no entry in the English Wikipedia and searching online seemed to show a lake or pond, so it looked like a water feature away from the main lake of Banyoles, but with the possibility of a walk to the Caves at Coves de Serinya, or alternatively down to Esponella.

Platja dEspolla (without any water)
So we drove and parked, just off the industrial estate at the entrance to Fontcoberta.

Now it turns out that this is quite a special and magical place. The roadsign pointing to Clot d'Espolla said 'Buit' or empty. We didn't know if that meant the car park initially, but we discovered it actually meant the lake or pond itself.

Platja dEspolla walk view to mountains So after parking , all we could see initially was a large dried out pond layered with grass and looking very unlikely to have any water, and then footpaths out and around. This is 'Buit'.

From reading the signs, the Clot d'Espolla has a magical ability to fill with water from underground springs when the weather is right. If there has been enough rain on the surrounding hills, and the Lake of Banyoles is full, then water starts to bubble up and fill the lake and pond via springs known as brolladors. And reading more since we got back, we discovered that the water then flows down the river eventually reaching the Salt de Martis waterfall - an 80m drop that only has water when the pond fills.

The empty space is not so impressive to look at on it's own without water, so now, knowing how it works, I'm really interested to see it when there is water for some photos of the contrast.

So having found out a bit more about the reason for the green star, we made a loop walk out to the Coves de Serinya - a small park with a prehistoric cave system.

Coves de Serinya from outside The path from the Clot d'Espolla heads out across the Plain of Martis - very large and flat with great views to the surrounding hills including the Pyrenees which look as if they've had fresh snow this week, and views to a large thunderstorm passing over Rocacorba behind Banyoles giving us the strange situation of seeing snow, with rain in the distance while walking under blue skies.

Mostly it's across the fields, before turning down into some woods past a couple of older masia buildings, before emerging at the Coves. They were closed when we got there, and the park is fenced off. But walking along the stream outside we could see in to the cave entrances into the hillside.

From the Coves we touched on Serinya itself past large villas and then even large masia buildings, before navigating back across the plain to return to the Clot d'Espolla.

When we get more rain, we'll try to return to get photos of the filled lake, but it's very seasonal and weather dependent.

Walking route for Platja dEspolla to Coves de Serinya

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