However, the effort is more than worth it and makes a perfect spring time excursion for the season’s cooler yet sunny days, especially for those who enjoy walking. Having climbed to the top up a fairly steep incline, the first glimpse of this vibrant little oasis lying concealed behind trees and surrounded by rocks is amazing. With nature thriving all around it, it’s hard to believe the pond disappears in the summer. Around two metres deep at its peak, there is marker in the middle of the pond to indicate how full it is. ?The sense of peace and serenity is incredible and the views of the valley below and towards the Algaiarens beaches and the sea beyond are simply spectacular. The good news is that the journey back is a lot easier and quicker being on a constant decline. This is a popular excursion for Menorcan families, particularly at weekends, so don’t’ expect it to be deserted. The round trip takes about two hours, including time to relax and savour the experience.
How to get there
There are no signs to direct you to Sa Bassa Verda, but it is not too difficult to find if you have a map and follow directions. Located to the north east of Algaiarens cove, north of Ciutadella, follow the signs for Cala Morell and Algaiarens from the north roundabout on the edge of Ciutadella’s industrial area. Turn right at the first roundabout and at the second roundabout take the signs to Cala Morell and Algaiarens. The road then forks in two, left for Cala Morell and right for Algaiarens and La Vall, where there is a car park (a charge is made during the summer).
Take the small wooden gate to the side where there is an information board with a map. Follow the track around until it splits and there is a sign for the Cami de Cavalls. Take the right hand fork through fields that become full of colourful wild flowers in spring, and where there is another small Menorcan style gate. Go through this and shortly afterwards the road splits again, there are some animal water troughs to the right. Take the left hand track (the Cami de Cavalls continues to the right) and carry on upwards through woodland as the path becoomes steeper and more rocky, but easily achievable for most people. Sa Bassa Verda is at the summit.
With many thanks to Menorca Photography Tours for their help with this article. Photographs courtesy of RTG Images. To see these and many more wonderful images of Menorca, visit: www.rtgimages.com
Menorca’s Temporary Ponds
Known as ‘basses’ in Catalan, Sa Bassa Verda is one of 80 similar temporary ponds situated around the island, all conserved and protected under the Life-Nature project run by the Island Council, known as Life Basses.
In general, they are a small depression in impermeable terrain, created by natural soil erosion. They come in different shapes and sizes, but one particular characteristic is that they are always quite shallow, usually no more than one to two metres deep. As well as delighting the eye, providing bursts of surprising colour amid arid landscapes that varies accordingly to the season, these little pools are dynamic ecosystems. Subject to a huge variety of conditions, passing from aquatic to terrestrial phases, they support an extraordinary number of rare and specific flora and organisms that have adapted to their changing environment, and attract all sorts of visiting wildlife.
Throughout history, these ponds have played a very important role on the island. Water collected in rainy seasons was kept fresh and ready for irrigation as well as for drinking water for cattle and people. In fact, evidence of their use dates back as far as the Talaiotic period (1500-123 BC). Clear proof of this is the existence of archaeological sites from ancient megalithic cultures nearby.
For more information about these fragile and exclusive ecosystems and the Life-Nature Project for the ‘Conservation and Management of Temporary Ponds in Menorca’, visit: www.cime.es/lifebasses.