Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: Special Regional Nature Reserve; established with L.R. May 23, 1985, n. 24.
The La Bessa Regional Nature Reserve occupies the plateau which extends south of Biella, not far from the Serra. The protected area covers an area of 723 hectares in the municipalities of Borriana, Cerrione, Mongrado and Zubiena.
La Bessa Regional Nature Reserve (photo Marco Pozzo www.biellaclub.it)
Large heaps of pebbles hidden in the dense forest and covered with moss: this is the original landscape of the Bessa. In this area, in pre-Roman and Roman times, an intense activity of extraction of the gold contained in alluvial debris developed, of which remains in the heaps of stone material, up to 20 meters high. The finer sandy material, containing them, was channeled into the ditches which, now repopulated by vegetation, can now be seen between one pile and another. In these canals, probably lined with wood, and in which it flowed deviated from the Viona stream, the sand and gravels were washed and separated from them, present as flakes and small nuggets. The sterile residue was conveyed downwards and discharged in the direction of the Elvo and Olobbia streams.
Many roads are visible between the heaps, which most likely served to build the heaps themselves. There are also some perimeter walls of small huts, partly excavated in the heaps, which testify to the presence of poor houses or temporary shelters, with vegetable coverings which were probably built near the work areas. Inside some of them coins, remains of ceramics, lamps and other material have been found, partly preserved in the Civic Museum of Biella.
The Bessa area is also very interesting from a geological, floristic and faunistic point of view. The large Balteo glacier, originating from the Valle dAosta, which in the Quaternary period originated the moraine of the Serra, of which Bessa is part, has transported up to now a true sample of rocks, such as gneiss, mica schists, eclogites and diorites.
Accumulating at the base of the stony ground of fine and organic material has given rise to a progressive colonization of plants. First the lichens and mosses appear, then the ferns, heather and other shrubs. Among the tree species, oaks predominate, but there are cherry, birch, ash, locust, chestnut, hawthorn and hazel trees.
Animal life also finds here an ideal habitat for many species. Several species of rodents, while hares and foxes are well represented, but are rarely seen. Among the reptiles, we find the viper, the rat snake and the colubus of Aesculapius. Among the birds, in addition to the common birdlife of the Biella woods, there is a significant presence of tawny owls and barn owls. Other information
Information for the visit
Grande Traversata del Biellese: it is a new excursion itinerary in 15 stages for a total of 200 kilometers, through the Biellese reserves and parks (La Bessa, La Burcina, Il Brich Zumaglia, Le Baragge and the Oasis Zegna).
Via Crosa, 1
13882 Cerrione (BL)
Tel. 0156 77276