La Herrería. It alternates areas of Pyrenean oak forest with meadows in which ash and oak trees live in harmony. A path offering information panels, the several granite fountains and the rest areas provided grant the opportunity of enjoying one of the best-conserved natural areas in the Madrid region.
On the general map we find it to the left, we will see it to the south of the Monastery. If we drew a triangle, its vertices would be: the first Ermitaño (Hermit), the Green Cross and the Monastery. The sides would be the train track (Madrid-Ávila), the highway MP-58 (Paseo de Carlos III) and the south side of San Lorenzo and the Villa (Monastery and Casita del Principe (Prince’s Cottage)).
In spring and summer it forms an olive green mass that turns ochre in autumn and dark brown and grey in winter, which makes it much easier to identify at first glance.
The best spot to have a general look is from the garden of the Friars, in the Monastery, or from the viewpoint of the Silla de Felipe II (Chair of Felipe II).
The protection that this place has enjoyed, by being royal property, has made possible its excellent state of conservation.
The forest of the Herrería is comprised of two different areas; the lower area in which spring beds, ash trees or mixed meadows of ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) and oaks mainly dominate, and the upper area, denser, with Pyrenean oak or Turkey oak (Quercus pyrenaica).
The meadows, typical of the Sierra of Guadarrama, represent an ecosystem linked to human use. We will the see the pruned ash trees, quite separated, pastures and, in rainy periods, flooded surfaces. The ash is a deciduous tree, with thickened trunks full of cavities as a result of periodic pruning to which they are subjected to obtain branches for livestock and firewood. You will see a good example of this around the Youth Hostel of Santa Maria del Buen Aire.