Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 12. Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: From Málaga, take the A-45, exit 114 to join with the A-92M, exiting at 20 onto the A-7203 and finally taking the MA-231.
Starting point: Villanueva del Rosario, on the bridge over the Arroyo de la Canaleja, Calle Arroyo (Fuente Vieja).
Enjoy the walk safely: The greater part of the way is along comfortable forest tracks or well maintained footpaths.
In the short section which takes you along the A-7230 main road it is obligatory to take the necessary precautions.
The steepest descent is towards the Hoz de Marín, through a terraced replanted pine forest. Due to the steepness and sandy terrain, you should descend carefully.
In the Hoz de Marín, you will ford a stream bed, which can have high water levels, sometimes sufficient to exceed the capacity of its.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: Motorway A-92 Sevilla-Granada and the A-359 (Pedrizas- Salinas) and fi nally the N-331.
Finish point: Archidona, where Calle Luis Braille meets the Avenida Andalucía.
Possible "escape routes": Once you have passed beneath the motorway for the second time, at kilometre 7.5, the option to leave the GR is at the Cortijo de La Saucedilla; take the track to the east. This will lead you to the main road that connects Villanueva del Trabuco with Archidona, the latter being the closer village, to your left.
No return point: There is a very important point, the highest of this Stage, where the viewpoint of the Central Limestone Arch has been situated. After this, a fairly steep descent towards the Hoz de Marín begins. Alternatively backtrack from the lookout point or continue from the Arroyo towards Archidona.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
PR-A 395, Fuentes de Hondonero overlaps at the start, PR-A 157, Archidona Hoz de Marín partially overlaps in the final section, GR 249.4, all route, GR 248, Alternative Route 249.4–GR 248 from the Guadalhorce, partially overlaps, GR-7 E-4, GR 7 Tarifa Athens, links up at the start.
• Road traffic circulating along tracks, until the mid-stage.
• Crossing the stream of La Hoz de Marín.
The River Guadalhorce (Up to km 4.2)
The route starts its descent from Villanueva del Rosario along the Camino de las Huertas (The Farmland Way) or de las Puentes (The Bridges Way). This runs close to La Canaleja stream, which has its source in the Nacimiento area in the mountains (Stage 11) and is channelled through the southeast of the village. Once you have left the houses behind, you enter a track which soon passes through orchards and rain-fed crops. It then meets El Cerezo stream, where you continue on past a single-track overpass to the other bank. The forest here consists mainly of Poplars and Elms, and the stream gently meanders round to the north. Go straight over the second crossroads, but just before the kilometre 2 mark, there is a small footbridge, which you use to cross over to the left bank. A compacted gravel path with a few benches has been laid here, making this a pleasant enough stretch. You will occasionally see some intake pipes, which channel the water off to a waste water treatment plant. Once you reach the far side of this small facility, you will notice the clean water exiting.
There is a map explaining the different places where the physical and chemical treatment takes place.
The riverside woodland becomes wider and more diverse as you approach the end of the pathway. Just where the smaller watercourse flows into the Guadalhorce (km 2.9), cross the bridge over this larger watercourse. At the turn off point for the Alternative Route 4, you cross the Guadalhorce’s GR 248 and then take a gravel road next to the MA-224 for a kilometre and a half.
The Dehesa traditional agroforestry system of Holm oaks (Up to km 12.6)
After passing under the A-92M, turn north in the area known as the Dehesa del Raso, soon passing by the Cortijo el Ventorro country house by a historic crossroads. Soon you must cross the motorway, by way of a third underpass. This brings you out to a wooded area that contrasts sharply with the countryside just a short way back.
Siegaliebres, or ‘Hare Cutter’ is the name given to the hills covered in Holm oak from La Atalaya (km 6.4) onwards. The short brush is made up of Scorpion broom, Thyme, Montpellier Cistus and Genista umbellata, with White Broom and Kermes oak trees standing out most. To complete the vegetation covering, there are Olive groves and some properties with tended-to fields. The woodland of Holm oak is now confined to the less productive areas and the path is bordered by wire fences and numerous gates. Climbing up, with the occasional sharp bend, you reach the highest point of the stage so far, at the Cerro de la Cruz. It suddenly turns 90° to the northeast near the Cortijo de la Serena (or Gómez). Just before this country estate is the karstic sinkhole.
The terrain opens up considerably with clumps of centuries-old Holm oak dotted here and there, along with other individual examples in the fields. The distant outlines of the Central Limestone Arc can be seen to the south, while the hillocks of El Yesar and El Pinar lie on the horizon to the north. The latter is recognisable by the row of pines that stands out on its elongated summit, in front of the forest behind it.
The track reaches some ruins (km 10.3) in the Calasana area and begins to gently weave through the undulating Olive and Almond groves and rain-fed farmland until it reaches the Cortijo de La Saucedilla, a little over twelve and a half kilometres from the start.
The curved valley (La Hoz) of the River Marín (To the end of the stage)
The stream that goes off to the west is the Arroyo de La Saucedilla, a tributary of the Arroyo de Marín. The path parts company with this and makes a 90° turn to the north, climbing up a steep slope in gypsiferous terrain.
The top of the hill offers some excellent views of the valley, and from here, continue walking a short way along the border between the Pine forest and Thyme bushes. You then turn left to descend the 200 metres down to the river, to the area known as Pilatos. There is hardly any undergrowth beneath the pines due to the dense cover. Nevertheless, this has favoured the growth of quite a few young Holm oaks. To return northwards, you must first go round a sharp bend at the bottom of the valley.
You cross the river at the 14.5km mark, just where it is forced to change course due to a gypsum and marlstone cliff, which is being undermined at its base. On the left we can see steep, almost treeless slopes with Thyme and Gorse bushes. On the right, leafy Elm trees arch over a section of the river creating a tunnel effect. Clean water flows here, although it can become murky due to sediment. The valley then opens up bit by bit, while the footpath becomes a track and begins to climb, leaving the curved and narrow valley behind. On the approach to Archidona, some Capers and Wild Cabbage can be seen on the escarpments. You enter the town via its southern district, and on Calle Luís Braille, where Stage 12 comes to an end.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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