GR 249. Stage 19. Campillos - Embalses del Guadalhorce
Las lagunas de Campillos
The walk follows the long street of Dr. Óscar Fernández direction southeast, passing on the left some industrial buildings and on the right recently built housing estates. As it becomes a track, it leads east, veers slightly to follow Camino de Antequera in the area called Velasco and passes the farmhouse de la Rondana on the right (km 2.7). The first lagoon, Laguna del Cerero, is passed on your right, and it is named after a nearby farm (km 5) where there is a major junction.
At the junction take the track southwards. Dry, reddish-coloured farmland harbours young olive groves, which are watered with a drip system during their first years of growth. The uncultivated patches called “herrizas” are frequent here in places where bedrock has emerged. There aren´t many large oaks, if anything you can encounter small woods of trees of the same size and age, scrub, or fi elds of esparto gras.
These islands of native vegetation on rocky crags lend greater diversity to the place and constitute a good refuge for many animals, some of them hunting species. Next the walker encounters the quite small basin of Camuñas lagoon. Then you reach two consecutive junctions, first with the train tracks and then the A-7286.
Next to the crossroads at the Cortijo de Capacete (km 7.5), to the west, there is the Capacete Lagoon, the last one of the protected lagoons within the nature reserve. It is a good sized one, similar in size to Cerero, so both are able to retain water well into the summer.
Passing the Hoyo del la Alberca on the right and the Llano de Farfán on the left the track climbs a small hill (km 11), called Cerrete de los Caimanes which is planted with almond trees. After descending and leading along successive tracks the walk takes you to the plain where the Panza Lagoon is struggling to survive; it is one of the smallest and shallowest ones.
Arroyos de Boquerón and Capitán
Following a little stony path along slopes of dense planted woods of Aleppo pine on the left, arrive at the fi rst ford across the Boquerón Stream, which shouldn´t pose too many problems. What comes next is a steep slope through an olive grove up the elongated summit of the Cerro Prieto (km 13.5), which you follow to the right until you reach a dirt track which turns westwards. This area must have boasted a productive olive grove some time ago, but now the trees are mixed with gorse, cistus, broom and thyme on a hill exposed to the winds. When you begin the descent, the landscape changes to mountains and farmland hills of different shades until you arrive at the Arroyo del Capitán, which flows on the side of a road again.
Pine woods and Reservoirs
Follow the A-7286 road for about two and a half kilometres, ignoring two junctions on the left (the first goes to Parque de Guadalteba and the second is a small service road which leads to the dam end of the reservoirs, which are the fi nal destination later in the stage). At the km marker 17.5 the tarmac ends. There are two farmsteads in this section; the fi rst one is Cortijo de Rebolo on the right. Enter the pine forest, which keeps getting denser and the trees become more exuberant with every metre. Undergrowth appears little y little, however the best area to catch a glimpse of what the biodiversity must have been like here, is the sandstone rock which has not been reforested. As you ascend in a zigzag to the threshing circle and the ruins of El Chopo farm (km 20.5), note the interesting scrubland of thyme, buckthorn, Mediterranean Dwarf Palm and Esparto grass thriving in the shelter of a few rocks.
There are a couple of places from where you have a good panoramic view of the Reservoir of Guadalhorce; one of them is the threshing circle at the second farmhouse. Walk downhill by a prehistoric cave dwelling and reach a crossroads where you abandon the dirt track and take a path. Shortly before an area with broad views where the path twists there is another ruin which had been built in a natural hole in the ground, saving the labour of having to build higher walls. You can still see the various strata of lime and azulina. The path follows the contours and the level of the lake which is getting closer, but it is best to keep walking a few metres at this level until you reach the road again. Here you can abandon the hill which separates the Guadalhorce and the Guadalteba reservoirs and reach the end of the stage just at the point where two dams of these twin reservoirs meet
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: The roads A-384, from the A-92 up to the level of Antequera, and the A-357 which leads to Málaga via Carratraca.
Starting point:Tthe southeast area of Campillos, where Dr. Óscar Fernández and Baltasar Peña streets meet.
Enjoy the walk safely: There are a couple of fords across Arroyos del Boquerón and Capitán, which do not pose a serious obstacle, given their meagre fl ow. Another story is the level crossing lacking automated barriers across the Málaga-Seville train line. The section of the railroad tracks is completely straight, but in case of low visibility, it is advisable to look for an overpass towards the west which means a detour of about two kilometres.
Follow the A-7286 as it passes over the railroad line and then follow the track which will take you back to the other side of the level crossing. On the other hand, you will cross the A-7286 road just after the level crossing and, paradoxically, it is the same road you will be walking along for about two kilometres and a half until reaching the track to Pinares de Rebolo. In all these above-mentioned cases you should take extra precautions. There is not a single drinking water supply point during the whole stage, which, as you know, is quite long.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: from Málaga the MA - 5403 road connecting Ardales with Estación del Chorro. Then follow the directions for the reservoirs (Pantanos) along a service road. There is an access from Campillos off the A-357 along another reservoirs service road, the A-7286.
Finish point: Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs just before the shared dam.
Possible "escape routes":The A-7286 road that you cross at km 7.5 takes you to Campillos in a few kilometres to the right. Another easily identified point is the junction of the A-357 with the road mentioned earlier (as it makes a semi-circle which ends here). This point is reached when you cross the Arroyo del Capitán, near a farmhouse. Then, as you wander through the pine wood, there is always a tarmac road you can reach by walking westwards.
No return point: From the pine forest of the hill Cerro de La Laguna de Panza onwards, turning back is not a good
idea. It is best to continue even though there is a hard ascent followed by a long descent.
Connections to other footpaths and trails: There is a circular walk (not sign-posted) which enables you to get to know all of the sites of the Natural Reserve of the Lagunas de Campillos, and it coincides in part with the GR.In terms of traditional public roads, up to Cortijo de Cerero (km 5) you will be walking along the old Camino de Campillos to Antequera, eastward.
The section leading south continues and connects later with Realenga de Carratraca, which leads up to Cortijo de Capacete (km 8.3). Earlier on, at the Laguna de Camuñas, there is a junction with the Cañada Real de Granada coming from the southwest, which then continues separately. From the point where you cross Arroyo del Boquerón until arriving at Arroyo del Capitán, the path is called Camino a Cerro Prieto.