Riberola is a large former fruit farm, situated in the Baix-Ebre region of southern Catalunya (an hour inland and between Barcelona and Valencia). 1.5 hours to Reus Airport door to door / 1 hour to beaches.
Approx 83 Ha of land set in a remote valley forming part of the Aligars-Serra Fulletera National Park. Land includes much dramatic natural habitat (cliffs, caves, river) as well as large terraces formerly used for large scale production of a variety of fruit. Previous testing has shown good organic soil basis, and extremely fertile soil has been used for biodynamic gardening over the years. The river forms part of the Canaletes, and runs through the valley drawing local wildlife (including wild boars, otters, birdlife) and providing natural swimming holes. Ideal range of natural grasses for livestock, particularly horses. 80 bee hives are currently positioned near to the main cave, thereby benefiting from the huge range of wild flowering plants in the area (this present arrangement with a local bee keeper results in Riberola being in constant stock of local olive oil as well as honey).
Traditional and unmodernised 4 bedroom house (180m2) running on solar power – requiring some work to complete the renovation*. A number of original features retained (for example a manger still runs along the side of the downstairs bedroom where animals were originally housed, and railway tracks used in the original build).
Top floor (60m2) consists of a large open oak-floored room / bedroom – recently used as a dormitory and yoga studio (former use was for drying fruit).
Mid-floor (60m2) consists of open plan kitchen and living room, 2 double bedrooms and walk-in wardrobe (basic plumbing present for 2nd toilet and sink). Traditional hand-made floor tiles throughout. Large veranda extends from kitchen door overlooking large terraces below.
Ground floor (60m2) includes small bathroom, shower room, small library, double bedroom and pantry. Traditional hand-made floor tiles throughout. Lean-to shelter at side of house.
Heating via stove in living room, and radiators (fuelled by Spanish Aga type wood-burning stove) fitted throughout (copious sustainable wood supply on site).
Satellite dish at side of house for internet.
Approx 85m deep bore hole fitted with solar pump tops up the cistern (approx 8,000 litres) by the house with alternative generator function (original 55 kw generator formerly used to irrigate the terraces in situ and in working condition although unused for several years).
New build barn (171sqm) split into 3 sections – previously used for housing farming machinery (75m2), storage (23m2) and a large workshop space with windows (73m2). Secure building with concrete floors throughout.
2 x small dwellings (ruins).
Planning permission granted (probably now expired) for an additional building (stables were provisionally planned).
Riberola has a long off-road track (4×4 required) from the N-230b, outside the small town of El Pinell de Brai (primary school, shops, bars, banks, restaurants and public swimming pool). Further access is via the Via Verda (Greenway) which passes through Riberola, providing easy cycling and walking access to either El Pinell de Brai or Old Benifallet Railway Station (car parking, restaurant, bar, summer live music, accommodation) 10-15 minutes either way by bike, 30 minutes walk; also providing cycling access to towns including Bot, Benifallet, Xerta and beyond. Although not always practical, walking or cycling the Greenway is the most wonderful way to arrive at Riberola (See below for more information on the Greenway and the local area).
Our late mother Helen found Riberola in 2007 and set about traditionally renovating the house, clearing the land and planting a range of trees. She lived happily at Riberola for 8 years with her animals (including rescued chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and horses) and other regular family visitors, friends and guests (including via creative writing retreats and Airbnb). Helen was very passionate about the local wildlife, particularly the Griffon vultures (colonies in the area being apparently the largest in Europe), and she was overjoyed when the Environmental Department in Barcelona confirmed the presence of nesting Bonelli (rare) eagles near the house. With our agreement, a local research and wildlife protection association periodically visits Riberola to monitor and record the behaviour of the otter families which live along this stretch of river. In 2017 our friends at Smugglers Records organised and ran an off-grid music festival at Riberola, hosting local musicians as well as international bands (www.facebook.com/riberolafestival). Other plans over the years have included establishing an animal / wildlife sanctuary association, selling produce on the Greenway, hosting yoga, foraging and wilderness retreats and birdwatching holidays (distinct to the birdlife at Riberola, the relatively close Ebro Delta’s beaches, marshes, and salt pans provide habitat to 95 breeding bird species and over 300 overwintering species).
We are looking for prospective purchasers interested in realising Riberola’s potential as a smallholding / community / project space, and who will especially value and look after this beautiful, varied and unique landscape. See below for more local information, and more about the Greenway.
*Renovation works required to the house include: shower room needs tiling and showers to be fitted (plumbing already installed); bath requires surround; stairs from ground to mid-floor require tiling / surfacing (currently old bare concrete); veranda needs new joists and decking; kitchen requires modernisation and the house interior could do with a coat of paint. The rough track to Riberola needs surface work and we have very recently purchased a small JCB digger (3.5 tonne tracked) to this aim.
THE GREENWAY (Via Verda) –
Although Riberola is remote and solitude is always available, it has the unusual advantage of being well connected to various other locations without the constant need to use a motorised vehicle. Because of the presence of the Greenway, within about 15 minutes of leaving the house on a summer evening you can be on your bike and ordering a drink and / or food whilst listening to live music at the Benifallet Old Station www.estaciodebenifallet.com.
The Baix Ebre Greenway is the third stage of the former La Val de Zafán railway which runs for over 100 km from La Puebla de Hijar, along the Ebro Nature Trail and down to the Ebro Delta Natural park. After the train line was decommissioned in 1973, the Via Verda came to occupy the old railway track. This low in gradient trail runs through some impressive mountain landscapes and long (solar lit) tunnels, including along parts of the River Ebro. A number of the old railway buildings have recently been renovated to service the increasing number of local and international groups of friends and families travelling along the Greenway by bike, on foot and occasionally on horseback. The trail is kept clean, and its fencing, tunnels and solar lights are well maintained by the council, testament to the respect people here seem to have for this shared natural environment. Although in reality the presence of Greenway passers-by is barely perceptible to those living at Riberola, it is clear that these travellers could potentially provide a healthy supply of visitors to Riberola itself, or become part of some other planned income stream on site.
MORE ABOUT THE LOCAL AREA –
Riberola falls in the Tarragona province of Catalunya, just south of the Terra Alta, in the Baix Ebre region. This rural district links inland mountains to the sea along the southern Costa Daurada https://costadaurada.info/en/known. The capital of the region is Tortosa, a University town south along the River Ebre, rich with its history, Renaissance architecture, festivals and indoor food market (https://www.tortosaturisme.cat)
Many more local towns such as Gandesa, Resquera, Benifallet, Xerta and El Pinell de Brai provide opportunity for smaller local festivities and community events, and free Catalan language courses for adults are promoted in the area (although almost everyone does speak Spanish too). During her time at Riberola our mother forged links with the wider community through her interests in nature, wildlife, organic growing, local sustainable business, yoga, music and, particularly, the local people whom she found to be extremely hospitable and helpful.
Please get in touch with any questions or for more information.