Web site intro
Matienzo Caves Project overview
3946 cave sites with descriptions, surveys
Updated: Nov 2013
QUICK MOBILE ACCESS
Updated: Nov 2013
Updated: Dec 2013
Updated: October 2013
Matienzo docs, maps and aerial photos
Archaeological remains in over
Cantabrian government site.
Cave exploration around Matienzo.
flowers, trees (ppt file) & gastropods
50 years : The Book
Castellano : English
Selected photos of
cave passage and formations around Matienzo
Links to scientific work
Resources for Spain and
Surface photos from around Matienzo
Travel, accommodation & Matienzo weather
Other caving pages
Matienzo bibliography and
Spanish-English caving dictionary
The Google Group
for Matienzo Caves
Background reading & general interest
Matienzo Neighbourhood Board
• Quarry / cantera
• Wind farms / parques eólicos
in Matienzo - updated February 2014
The 26km2 enclosed depression of Matienzo is about 30km south
east of Santander in northern Spain. The imperviously-floored valley is
surrounded by limestone hills with water resurging into the basin at a number
of points and sinking at the northern end. Notable caves are included in
the 3946 documented sites, e.g. The Four Valleys
System (over 56km long), Cueva Vallina
(31.7km) and the almost-linked South Vega System
(33.0km). There are also numerous sites of
archaeological interest, with extensive Iron Age
A major Spanish caving expedition took place in the summer of 1964 and
British-led caving expeditions have been occuring up to 3 or 4 times a year
since the late 60s. The amount of known cave passage in the area
has risen from some five or six km to more than 343km (December 2013). On average,
three to five kilometres of cave are found each year, although in 1989, 2008 and 2009 over 15km, 13km and 14.8km respectively was surveyed. Collaboration with
Spanish groups has resulted in new cave exploration. An area map shows the major caves.
Permission to explore is given by the Cantabrian government and Spanish
speleological authorities within both geographical (about 94km2)
and time limits. Good relations are kept with the villagers, the caving
authorities, and other spanish caving groups. We have the support of the
Ghar Parau Foundation which have recommended grants for many years. Recent grants to the Matienzo Caving Expeditions can be seen here.
During the expeditions, many cavers camp in the field behind
Bar. The restaurant is a computing and drawing up area.
Hostel accommodation is available at La Taberna in the village,
at Casa Tomás in Ogarrio, at the Restaurante Pension
Anjana near Ramales and in La Cavada at the Posada Restaurante Carlos III.
If you have photos, cave descriptions or other information to contribute please get in touch.