The Dunes Reforestation Project has been one of the most important events in the recent history of Guardamar. It started in 1896, when the dune system began to imbalance. Huge sand dunes were moving inland and covered a vast extension 16 km long. The project, carried out by Engineer Francisco Mira Botella, stopped the sands, which had already damaged cultivated lands and the village risked being buried. The fixing and reforestation works on the dunes made new essential infrastructures necessary, in order to ensure the evolution and development of the project. The most relevant of them all is the Old Nursery. The site is made up of:
Old nursery: Built in 1901 it is the only one that remains active at present. Its initial structure is as follows: A regular nave articulated by a wide central corridor, crossed by window boxes with solid bricks and decorated with polychrome ceramic panels. On both sides of the corridor, the garden grills are structured like rectangular plots of different measurements. This is the nursery for reforestation species such as Aleppo pines, stone pines, cypresses, carob, etc. A first expansion started in 1910 and another, since the 1970s, to produce plants for Guardamar and other areas in the region.
Forestry House: It was originally a storehouse until it became the forest guard’s home. Another unique building found in the nursery is known as the “nursery’s tools cabin”.
Cistern: Water wells were built in the nursery’s subsoil to irrigate tree species proving to be a highly effective solution. However, a cistern was built in the 1950’s to seize and store drinking water. It is an important example of water culture. It is made up of a water capture pipeline on the floor that lets the water flow into the tank and an access on the top. The water collection system is completed in the rear with a spillway to let out surplus water.
Engineer Mira Bust: The “Engineer Francisco Mira Botella Memorial” is located in the square, next to the water tank. It is an idealised bust of the engineer wearing the forest ranger’s gala uniform. It stands on an Art Deco pedestal with an inscription in relief. This bust was fashioned by Agustin Pantoja Mingot, a renowned sculptor and artist from Alicante. This monumental sculpture was made to honour the engineer for all the years he dedicated to the Dunes Reforestation Project. In fact, the inscription states that he was named a “foster son” of Guardamar.