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Home -> Hiking -> Deza Path

Deza Path

The natural path of the Toxa waterfall – Carboeiro Monastery is located in the councils of Silleda and Vila de Cruces in the district of Deza. You enter the beginning of the route from the village of A Bandeira, located on the N-525 road, linking Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. Then, from A Bandeira, you must go to the parish of Pazos via the PO-204 road which goes to Merza and Vila de Cruces.

This area, due to the high concentration of the natural communities it conserves, participates in the European Natura 2000 network and is part of the Site of Community Importance Ulla-Deza river system.

  • Description
  • Biodiversity

Its length is about 6 km where, after contemplating the 70m drop of the Toxa waterfall from numerous vantage points, you descend to the foot of the fall to accompany the Toxa River in the final metres before it flows into the Deza. Cross the river by the iron bridge to reach the hermitage of San Paio and later the town of Merza. Continue until the A Carixa,river beach and after a climb of some difficulty, we turn to the right to the hamlet of Portela, although we could shorten the journey if we continue up the road towards Baños da Brea spa and thus, link up with the old Brea road which leads to Carboeiro Monastery.

Once at the hamlet of A Portela, we follow the path parallel to the river, as marked by the signs until we find the medieval road which crosses the medieval bridge, rebuilt several times, also called Ponte do Demo (Devil´s Bridge), and that finally lead us to the Benedictine monastery of San Lourenzo de Carboeiro, founded in the 10th century, considered the best example of transitional Galician Romanesque, also called Gothic Romanesque.

The Deza River Basin contains one of the best preserved fish communities in Galicia, where endemic cyprinids such as polylepis Chondrostoma live with one of the best populations of Galician trout (Salmo trutta). To these sedentary species has to be added those which are required to travel throughout their lives between the sea and the river environment, and which are becoming scarcer due to the presence of artificial barriers set by man. In this group are the eel (Anguilla anguilla), the Alis Shad (Alosa allose), the sábalo (Alosa fallas), lamprey (Petrmyzon marinus) and one of the jewels of our waters, the Atlantic salmon, which is in the watercourses of the Deza delta, It swims in the hills and mountains of the Testeiro and Serra do Candán, one of the last havens to avoid extinction. It is the waters of the Deza, fresh and oxygenated all year, which contribute to well-preserved banks which provide a terraced forest of moisture-loving trees such as willows (Salix atrocinerea), alder (Alnus glutinosa) and ash (Fraxinus angustifolia). As indicators of the health of the waters, we can find in the Deza River invertibrates which are becoming increasingly scarce in the rest of Europe, such as the freshwater mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) or the orange spotted emerald (Oxygastra curtisii). Mammals like the muskrat (Galemys pyrenaica) and otter (Lutra lutra) maintain the river and it is even possible to discover traces in the river of the shy ferret (Mustela putorius), who likes to capture small vertebrates like the Iberian frog (Iberian) and water lizard (Lacerta shreiberi). These, together with the also present gold-striped salamander (Chioglossa lusitanica), are three species endemic to the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

The mild climate, allows for forest diversity, as well as the typical elements of the damp oak woods are united many other thermophiles, more typical of Mediterranean systems. Thus, in sunny positions and better-drained soils are present cork oaks (Quercurs suber), strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), bays (Laurus nobilis) and Pyrenean oaks (Quercus pyrenaica), while in the deeper soils dominate the oak (Quercus robur), maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) and sweet chestnut (Castanae sativa), the latter less prone to wet soils.

There are many invertebrates associated with this complex community of trees. Notable for their rarity among the beetles are those belonging to the family of the lucanus represented by the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) and the actual lesser stag beetle (Dorcus parallelopipedus), which perform their larval development in the dead wood of deciduous trees typical of ancient forests. Many of the forest butterflies feed during the larval stage on tree leaves, the Queen willow (Apatrua iris) for example feeds on the leaves of willows.

Among the forest mammals are include the wild mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and the dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), who likes the fruit of the hazel (Corylus avellana), which are part of the forest undergrowth. Also present are large predators, herbivores such as the wild pig (Genetta Genetta) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). The forest is interspersed with pine and eucalyptus plantations and open areas with gorse bush (Ulex) and broom (Cytisus).

This area has a high diversity in predominantly granite, amphibolite and magnatite. They had great importance in the decades of the thirties and forties Wolfram quarries, also called tungsten, which were the subject of intense mining activity linked to the international conflicts of the time This is a highly diverse lithological area which gives origin to the Toxa waterfall due to the extremely hard granite, as a result of the amounts of quartz present on metamorphic materials less resistant to erosion, between which it lays. In the towering granite walls flanking the waterfall can be found nesting birds that require large stone cliffs and are not abundant in Galicia, such as ravens (Corvus corax) and falcons (Falco peregrinus).

Carballeira do Pazo

Carballeira do Pazo

Carballeira do Pazo

Carballeira do Pazo

Length of route:
6 km.
Duration of trip:
2 hours.
Degree of difficulty:

This route is considered of short distance (PRG 18) and has signage to indicate the right path.


Equipment: Lightweight mountain shoes, rain coat depending on the season. Route map, water bottle, recommended camera, and light comfortable clothing.

It can be done as a round trip, but it is advisable to follow the path marked to avoid getting lost. In such a case, call: 660 663 660 or 664 809 145 (Civil Protection).