Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 26. Jimera de Líbar - Benalauría
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: From the A-369 between Ronda and y Algeciras, crossroads with the MA- 8307. Another connection with the same road starts from MA-8401 between Cortes de la Frontera and Benaoján.
Starting point: Jimera de Líbar, Fuente and Lavadero in the village.
Enjoy the walk safely: The main streams can be crossed using the light-weight makeshift bridges but there are a few you have to ford. However, in no case we are talking about long or dangerous watercourses, even in rainy season.
There could be cattle grazing in some extensive farming areas (Andalucían breeds: pajunas, retintas or berrendas). They do not pose a particular danger but neither are they characterised by any special geniality. It is best to keep your distance, same with the bee hives which are at km 6.5.
The worse section of the day is the junction with A-369, which must be crossed at a place with best possible visibility. The section along Benalauría road must be walked according to the usual rules even though the traffic is not heavy. In order to get to the village you will be using the old tarmac track with no apparent assigned road number but used by the tough young locals as a short-cut to get directly tothe village square.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: Benalauría can be accessed only on one road, the MA-8306, which connects with the A-369 between Ronda and Gaucín.
Finish point: Plaza del Teniente Viñas, in the pueblo of Benalauría.
Possible "escape routes": Your main strategic point for any emergencies is Siete Pilas, located more or less half-way through the walk. It is also feasible to go back to Estación de Cortes using the alternative walk, the GR-141.
No return point: Keeping in mind the two previous options, from the walnut country house onwards it is best to continue. Once you are close to Puerto de Benalauría it makes more sense to continue towards Benalauría or the Ronda road before the village.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
GR 141, Great Path of the Serranía de Ronda, overlap at the start and end of the Stage, PR-A 258, Atajate – Jimera de Líbar y Ruta de Fray Leopoldo, link up at the start, PR-A 255, Jimera de Líbar – Cortes de la Frontera, link up at the start and km 7.4, PR A-237, Cañada de Real Tesoro – Tesoro, overlap from km 9.
• Road traffic circulating at the start and end of the Stage.
Jimera de Líbar Dehesa land (Up to km 3.5)
You leave Jimera along the main road towards Atajate, and turn off im- mediately to the right onto a tarmac track, named Carril de la Dehesa. You then turn off this further down, in order to pick up the stony ancient pathway, lined by Holm oaks. After 1km from the start, it joins the track again close to the Atajate stream. Through a gate, you access the Public Uplands of La Dehesa, the traditional cleared forest system of Cork oaks with Holm and Gallo aks. This land belongs to the Town Council of Jimera de Líbar. Behind the gate is the closed off rubbish dump (a resting area actually) and some small sheds that appear on your left after a sharp bend. The best views of Jimera de Líbar to the north-east and the Sierra del Palo hills to the west are found here. A little further on, you reach the farm of La Dehesa, the fenced small lake and its adjoining recreational area.
A section through Cork oaks brings you to the ruins of the country estate of El Pastor on the right and you go down to the Judío stream (km 3.5). Cross this to reach the country house of the same name, while changing from a south-westerly to southerly heading.
Among ‘Bujeo’ soils and Mediterranean Uplands (Up to km 7.4)
You then come to a much more open area with clayey terrain, which the path climbs up on numerous narrow and criss-crossing paths. To the right is the Bernardito country estate with its Eucalyptus trees, while up ahead is the wide-open landscape of Sierra Blanquilla and Cortes de la Frontera. The rise with the Walnut grove was the location of the old inn of La Alfacara, which is now reduced to rubble. The trail through the upper part of the estate leads to the irrigation pool, then descends and joins another footpath. The vegetation changes to Mediterranean scrubland with a wire fence on the right separating this land from some of the houses. You pass a threshing circle just before the bends that lead to the Alfacara stream and a water storage facility (km 5.1), surrounded by entwined scrub vegetation.
The landscape then opens up, at times with areas of Olive groves or Wild Olive trees and others simply with crops or thicket. Continue along the multiple criss-crossing livestock trails, that cover this farmed land. When you pass by some beehives, you have reached the Cortijo de los Capitanes estate. A slight descent takes you down to the deep gouge of the Paliche stream (or de la Vega), covered with undergrowth.
Benadalid & Benalauría ‘Dehesa’ land and the Siete Pilas hamlet (Up to km 9)
The Honda (or Florida) lake (km 7.4) is a small body of water next to the main track, which tends to dry up in summer. From here, the PR A-255 and GR-141 split off, heading towards the train station at Cortes.
Climbing once again, you pass through the traditional Dehesa land of Benadalid and Benalauría, made up of several hundred hectares of Holm oak and Gall oak woodland. Still heading south, you cross the Peñoncillo (or Bovedilla) stream and turn right, off the main track that climbs up into the hills.
Arriving in the village of Siete Pilas, you are presented with a wide-open area (km 9) with the Hermitage School of Bishop Herrera Oria, still in use today. The path makes a sharp turn, parting ways with the GR-141 and changes direction to head east, first passing the Siete Pilas fountain. Then it takes one of the traditional paths used to join up the scattered houses.
The Sierras of Almargen & El Espino (To the end of the stage)
The Benalauría Way goes up hill fromSiete Pilas, parallel to a drainage channel that is a pipeline further up, carrying water from Fuensanta. At times, it joins other tracks, but generally progresses through scrubland. You cross another track at the Maja country estate and then take the last long climb along a secondary track that leads up to the quarry and some water wells.
The mountain pass is between the Pine forest of the Rock of Benadalid and the Holm oak forest of La Cancha on the right, already part of Benalauría. From the Benalauría pass (km 12.2), there are views of the Guadiaro valley to the west and the Genal valley to the east. There is a turn-off to the via ferratas and the Tajo de los Aviones (The Cliff of the Crag Martins) climbing routes on the left, but you take the concrete track that winds down through Holm oaks to join up with the GR141.
Together, they cross the road going to Algeciras, then go down the MA-8306 for a short distance and climb up along a track lined with houses and Chestnut trees. When you reach the pass, you continue straight on down the hill. The track becomes a forest path and after a somewhat vertical stretch, where the landscape opens out, you arrive at the pretty village of Benalauría, where the Stage ends.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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