Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 13. Archidona - Villanueva de Tapia
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: A-92 Motorway Sevilla-Granada and the A-359 (Pedrizas- Salinas) and fi nally the N-331.
Starting point: Archidona, at the converging point of Calle Luis Braille with Avenida Andalucía.
Enjoy the walk safely: The most dangerous, as it often happens, is walking along the few stretches of road, especially the A-333 as it is a fast, straight stretch with high numbers of traffi c. But also, on this Stage is the level rail crossing without barriers on the Seville-Granada line: although it is in an area with good visibility. Be very cautious if there is rain or fog.
The only wading point on this Stage is through the Arroyo de las Negras stream, but here it tends to gain mostly in width without too much depth. The only alternative, in any case, would be to use the fl yover of the motorway, which is not recommended. The A-92 is passed by means of a tunnel, which usually presents no problems not even by the circulation of water. Except from the Fuente del Sacristán spring, which is not drinking water, there is no possibility of replenishing water along the way.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: From the A-92 you should take the A-333 Archidona Alcaudete. From Málaga, the A-359 towards Granada and turn off onto the A-333.
Finish point: Villanueva de Tapia, at the roundabout closest to Avenida Constitución, at the southern part of the village.
Possible "escape routes": The walk connects with two major roads, the A-92 Sevilla -Granada and the A-333. You could leave this Stage at either of these, but preferably on the regional road.
No return point: It is not a question of it being a diffi cult stage from the point of view of the effort or the orientation, but, once you have passed the railway line the best thing is to continue to Villanueva de Tapia.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
GR-7 E-4, Partial overlap from Point 5.
• Road traffic circulating in Archidona and on the A-333
• Tracks used by various motor vehicles
• Crossing the Arroyo de la Negras stream
• Level crossing without barriers at km 8.9
From Archidona to Arroyo de la Negra (Up to km 6.5)
The beginning of Stage 13 crosses Archidona to the north from the starting point on Luis Braille street. When you reach the main crossing, it turns east, with a long stretch on Virgen de Gracia street, leading onto Llano de Pablo Picasso avenue. It is lined by housing developments and passes an industrial estate on the left at the end. At the two-kilometre mark, you leave the A-7200 road and take a country track that overlaps with the old Camino de Villanueva de Tapia.
The path follows the outline of the Sierra de Archidona, running along its eastern side and keeping it in sight throughout. The limestone mass reaches an Height above SLe of 1,013 meters at the summit of El Conjuro, its southernmost peak. This is next to the shrine of the Virgen de Gracia, and is also the end point of the town’s via ferrata. The cliff faces of this mountain range are on the other side, overlooking the Sevilla-Granada motorway, with its caves and crags with climbing routes also visible. The mountain slopes on the side of the path are gentler and lacking in vegetation, except for dense Esparto grasses and smaller outlying Holm oaks. Meanwhile, the Great Path runs through olive groves and arable land. Further on, you pass two crossroads on the right and left before arriving at the Sacristán spring (km 4.1), which feeds a tributary of the Negra stream to the east.
The clay hills on both sides of the path are covered by well-tended Olive and Almond groves, however there are excellent age-old Holm oak trees scattered around, which occasionally clump together to form copses. Larger trees appear more frequently on both sides of the path, growing on the border between public and private land. In the middle distance you can also see some rocky, unfertile land with patches of Shrub oaks. The two important farmhouses in this section are El Monaguillo and El Tomillar (km 5.5), on the right in an area with the best views of the Central Limestone Arc. The mountain ranges to the east, behind Villanueva del Trabuco and Villanueva del Rosario were crossed just two stages ago and appear very close.
You then cross a stream that has carved out a deep channel in the clay and pebbles, and from the west we enter a Realenga (Crown land) before dropping down to the Arroyo de la Negra stream. The riverbed has very little vegetation, mainly because it is a very new course. Reeds and Bulrushes are most abundant here and, despite the reduced volume of water, there is some interesting fauna.
Through Holm oak and Olive tree Dehesa pastures (To the end of the stage)
As soon as you pass under the motorway (km 6.5), you take the Realenga del Puerto track, which runs alongside the fast road, keeping this on your right. The treeless peak of Cerro del Umbral remains behind you, while you enter the best kept Dehesa pastureland of the route. The Holm oak forest is the key element in the traditional agroforestry system of the Dehesa, which is also used for hunting on this occasion. To help these different elements to coexist, in the adjacent fields, there are areas of very dense shrubs of Montpellier cistus and others that have been ploughed and even planted with olive trees.
There is a sign for the Vía Pecuaria (Livestock Way) from Seville to Granada nearby, where the route makes a sharp turn to the north from the motorway at Los Borbollones. This brings you to the area called Las Hoyas de Galván, the location of the farm named Finca Sureco. You then come to a level crossing with no barrier on the Bobadilla to Granada railway line, as well as the link up with the Tarifa to Athens Pathway. Extreme caution must be taken here when visibility is low. Next up is an underpass of the AVE line and a long straight stretch between olive groves that momentarily separates from the GR 7 route.
When you reach the regional road, the A-333 (km 12), walk a short way to the east and take the path known as Entredicho. On your right, in the ravines to the east, are some Holm oaks with dense undergrowth of Scorpion broom, Gorse and Laurel-leaf rockroses. The steeper slopes prevent any cultivation of crops here, so nature is left to take its own course. This is, in fact, the hilliest section of the day and you soon reach an area where Olive trees cover the landscape. From the top of the final hill, Las Palomeras (km 14.5) you can appreciate the full expanse. An information board greets you at the Entredicho viewpoint, where Villanueva de Tapia comes into view for the first time, at the head of a valley. Its white contrasts heavily with the green of the olive trees and the earthy yellow terrain.
The ownership of the village and its pastures was highly disputed in the 16th century, so much so that it acquired the nickname of El Entredicho (the Injunction). This continued until the governance was granted to the lawyer Pedro de Tapia, who lent it his surname. The route drops down to the Arroyo de la Cerca stream, which has its source in the Trifinio, then climbing up to the farmhouse, where the stage ends.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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