To the plains of cross and the salt hills
A long route with interesting aspects. Landscapes, filk traditions and many forms of rural economic activity can he observed.
RECOMMENDED SEASON: All year round.
PRACTICAL ADVICE: Take spares for the bike and something to eat. There is no problem with water. If going by foot it is advisable to leave early. You can connect with many other routes (opcional departure point).
We start from the Ronda industrial estate next to the Hotel Berlanga where we find the end of Genal street ; on the left is Guadalete street where a stone cross marks the place where several people were killed during the civil war. We follow this street down past a builders merchants warehouse and soon it becomes a track of beaten earth flanked by stone walls, almond trees and broom. After 400 meters we pass the El Cuco estate with its stables, we cross a level crossing and descend to where we have to cross through a tunnel under the ring road.
From here run three tracks, we take the one that descends, leaving the concrete path on the right and the one to "Fuente Dulce" behind us. Our path leads to the Llano of la Cruz and offers splendid views. The hills we see in front are known as Los Frontones and to the north las Salinas. As we descend we pass a white well that marks the spring of Don Pedro, here the track veers left and at 2,4 Km. we reach the road that leads to Llano of la Cruz. We will return here later. We follow the road passing the Molino bar and a beautiful house known as "Padres Naranjos".
At 3 Km. we pass through a small tunnel under the Algeciras-Bobadilla railway. Now the path levels out between fields of cereals.
At 3.6 Km. we come to a fork in the road, the one on the right goes to Arriate and we will return by it. We take the other where a sign indicates the Hotel Fuente of la Higuera. An asphalt road in poor condition leads to a bridge at 400 meters where we ignore another track on the left. We see Holm Oaks mixed with walnuts, quince trees and wild roses. At 4.5 Km. we leave the Hotel Fuente of la Higuera on the left and at 5 km. as we pass the old country school "los Frontones" the road becomes a track.
At 6.8 Km. we see a pine wood known as "la Mata del Marques", ignoring the path on the left we continue another 300 meters passing a beautiful house and orchard where we now take the left hand path. After leaving behind another path, again to the left, we reach an open gate, which, having passed, we take the right hand path which soon ascends through Holm Oak woods of abundant vegetation. At 8 Km., marked by a water deposit on the right , the climb gets steeper, at times running parallel to another from the Madrid farmhouse. When it levels out we find another wider track parallel to ours. Here we find optional departure point 1.
We are now on the path of "los Frontones" which marks the border between Malaga and Cadiz provinces. A sign indicates the hunting grounds of the "EI Lizon" hunting society. Here we find optional departure point 2.
We follow the Frontones track on the right soon leading us past "EI Polear" farmhouse with its well. At 13.6 km. we reach the road from Arriate to Setenil. In front we see the path to Osuna from Ronda. Here we turn right and take the road towards Arriate. Soon after, at around 14 km., we take the track on the left where a sign indicates the "Bodega of las Monjas". In this zone the raising of Iberian pigs is widely practised, essential to the cold meat industry in the Serrania. At 15 Km. there is a turn off on the left marked by a small house and an electrical supply post. This is optional departure point 3.
We ignore this turn off and continue. We also ignore another track to the right 100 meters later.
"Las Monjas" with its farmhouse, vineyards and wine cellars stands to our right and the railway runs parallel on the left. At 18.2 Km. we find the old cold meat factory of "La Parchite" now converted into a bar. Here we join the great European route Gr 7 E-4, which ends in Tarifa. Every Year, midway through Lent, the people from Arriate celebrate here an ancient festival known as "Partir la Vieja", when many local delicacies are enjoyed, including liqueurs such as "Mistela". 500 meters further, where we find a house known as "EI Bombero", we abandon the main track for the one on the right . Here we find optional departure point 4.
This track descends through farms and olive groves. At 21.3 Km. we arrive in Arriate. We take the main road which descends eventually crossing the brook of la Ventilla. After ascending a steep hill we seek out the church of San Juan from behind which parts "Los Caños" street. We take this and a sign for GR 7 shows we are on the right way. We join an asphalt road and pass the most fertile fields of the area. We pass the bar "EI Pelistre" and at 25.3 "EI Polvorilla". 500 meters on we reach the fork in the road where we passed earlier taking the other track.
We now turn left and return by our previous route. When we reach the earth track we came on we take it but leave it almost immediately to take a less marked path parallel to a stone wall and with the farmhouse "Huerta Vieja" on the right. When we come to the edge of a pine wood we take the path on the right that circles it. Below us we see the centre for protection of the forest. We can see centenarian Holm Oaks by the wayside. As we climb we pass the sewage treatment plant on the right reaching the ring road after 29.2 Km. of our route which ends here and can take up to 8 hours.
OPTIONAL DEPARTURE POINTS:
Nº1.-TO THE SALINAS HILLS.
Just after joining the Frontones track we take a path on the right which takes us to the Salinas Hills with a splendid wood of Holm, Cork and Gall Oaks. On the north side there is a salt water spring with curious formations. We can also reach the pass "del Monte".
Nº 2.-TO THE GALL OAK PASS AND ACINIPO.
We take the Frontones track on the left. After 5 Km. we reach the road to Acinipo from Ronda. Acinipo is the site of an ancient city of Iberian origins with important Roman remains such as the theatre, the forum and the baths.
Nº3.-TO THE "ALBERCA" POOL.
We take the track indicated which after 2 Km. passes a zone which floods in the rainy season forming the pool known as the "Alberca".
Nº4.- TO THE VENTILLA BRIDGE.
Following the Royal right of way we reach the Ventilla Bridge, through which passes route 3 and from there we can connect to route THE PILAR DE COCA.