Santa María de Cayón
In Alto de San Vicente stands the monastery of the same name, one of the first pockets of population and religious activity in Pisueña Valley.
The original building, San Vicente de Fístoles, was founded in 811 and constituted an Abbey with the most power and greatest ecclesiastic domains in the region. It is of great architectural value both in the interior and exterior constructions. A necropolis was found during surrounding excavations, as well as several pottery pieces. Nowadays it is preserved only as a shrine from 16th century.
Lower stretch of the Pisueña, between the municipalities of Penagos (north), Villafufre and Saro (south) and Castañeda (west), 26 Km away from Santander.
Population: 6.500 Extension: 47,8 Km2 Altitude: 80-150 m.
Towns: La Abadilla · Argomilla · La Encina · Esles · Lloreda · La Penilla, San Román · Santa María de Cayón · Sarón · Totero.
Capital town: Santa María de Cayón
Cayón presents a smooth relief of pastures and low hills, with few elevations. Alto de la Cruz and Caballar mountain range, west, are the only exception. The smooth relief is broken south by Hoces del Pisueña, that give name to the gorge that unites the valleys of Cayón and Carriedo. River Suscuaja joins Pisueña, in which we find examples of mixed riverside forests (willow, alder, poplar, ash trees, coupled with ferns). Other good example of native forest is Esles beech grove. Stands out the extensive forest mass in Carceña Mount, old oak grove that now is an eucalyptus exploitation forest. There also occasionally are other allochthonous trees classified as Singular Trees in the Catalogue of Cantabria. River Pisueña has a great many fish, mainly of trout and salmon.
- Funerary art: annexed to the Church of Saint Andrew are preserved 17 sarcophagus covers dating from centuries 10th to 13th, with various Latin carvings.
- Religious Roman: between the region Roman temples stand out the Churches of Saint Andrew (Argomilla), Saint Mary of Cayón and Saint Michael of Carceña, and the Chapel of Saint Vincent (Esles).
- Emblazoned houses from centuries 17th to 18th: stands out the monumental ensemble of Esles and Lloreda. Also, the Palace of Ceballos the Knight, in Argomilla, that mixes elements from centuries 16th to 18th; the House-Tower of La Abadilla, declared Local Interest Good in 2002.
Traditional farming activity has been desplazed since mid 20th century thanks to the multinational Suiza Nestlé factory, located in Penilla. Many medium and small businesses as well as workshops complete the industrial and commercial dense fabric of a greatly dynamic municipality, where Sarón is the regional head of Pisueña river.
- Architectural richness of Esles and Lloreda: a simple walk through their neighbourhoods and corners offers beautiful shows of popular and noble Cantabrian architecture, from houses in rows to emblazoned manor houses, respectively.
- Greenway (from Sarón to Castañeda): on an old railway path, reconverted and developed into a nature path, bikers and walkers can enjoy stretchs of riverside forest and wide pastures. The path continues along the municipalities of Castañeda and Puente Viesgo.
- Headwaters of Suscuaja (5 hours): this route starts in Lloreda and arrives in Esles, following the Pisueña-Miera and crossing Esles beech grove. It is a medium difficulty route for excursionists.