GR 249.4. Section 1. VIllanueva del Rosario - Antequera
The Guadalhorce River in its beginnings (up to km 7.0)
The Stage begins south of the hamlet of Villanueva del Rosario and on the right bank of the Canaleja stream meters before draining this into the Cerezo, which is also accompanied by Stage 12 matrix of GR 249. Soon, in the area of the Bridges, the Camino de Málaga and Cordel de Santillán a Mollina deviate to the left, crossing it. On the contrary, the lane goes between small orchards and labor camps and, when it deviates towards a larger paved road, the Path crosses the river (km 1.3) and takes an albero road heading north.
You pass through the wastewater treatment facilities and at kilometer 2 you cross the channel for the second time when it is already part of the Guadalhorce River, which enters from the east along the GR 248. From this bridge of the Cucamonas farmhouse, the Variant leaves Stage 12 of the GR 249 and joins this new Long Distance Path, turning west. You leave the slopes and take an earthy sidewalk that goes along the right bank of the river, which each time has a undergrowth of taller trees: poplars, poplars, elms and ash trees.
On the right there are strips of rainfed fields, sometimes delimited by streams that cross wooden bridges, except that of the Indian, which is saved with the old ditch of the cortijo del Río, terrified for this purpose. In one of the meanders you can see a beautiful ash and the earthy slope on which a mixed forest of holm oaks and gall oaks grows, and immediately crosses under the A-92M highway. Still with crops to the north, but with a greater slope, you pass through an olive grove, cross a lane and reach the best example of a mall of the route. To cross the next stream you do not need infrastructure, but that of the Fresnedilla (km 5), of greater entity, is saved by climbing the lane that goes higher and in the same direction, to descend again and enter a closed one.
The area is on the north side of the peak of the Vultures, with a sealed quarry, and within the place known as the Carboneras, with some ruin of old farmhouses. The vegetation is very dense, the river gains speed generating streams and soon opens up in a new work. You can thus reach the lane that at all times could serve as an escape in case of flooding of the river, always to the north. At the junction, the Great Guadalhorce Path ends, to which a Northbound Drift continues downstream through a very wild gorge, recommended for wildlife watching, while the Variant continues alone to the west the immediate ascent, from the lowest point of the day at 600 meters of altitude.
The stream of the Ivy and the Navillas (up to km 14.2)
Once you cross the Guadalhorce at the height of the Platero farmhouse, you accompany the stream of the Ivy through the Breña area, the forest on rocky stratum that can be seen at the foot of the pits of the Vultures. With some small raids closed on the meanders of the stream, the lane has a pine forest on the right and you reach Los Chorrillos and Las Navillas, a leisure facilities in nature with a couple of artificial lagoons.
There is a marked contrast between the stream and its forested margins (the Lentiscares) and the light hills on the right, which definitely gain ground when arriving at the farmhouse of La Yedra, with its Iberian pigs. Then, and between barbed wire, comes a pasture of oaks in regeneration and the camp area of the mare of Carmen, a few meters from the crossing of the farmhouse of Desgarrahatos, which is on the right. Now, towards the middle of the route, it is a question of making a long loop to pass over the A-45 motorway using the service roads, passing through a gas station and various accommodations and restaurants annexed to a road with such a long history.
The Dehesa de las Yeguas and the Alhajuelas (up to km 20.7)
Returning to the western direction (km 15.7) through a break and various crosses, the landscape on the other side is of clay hills where many secular farmhouses settle, some in ruins and others in active such as Torre Árboles, which is left to the right and from which the lane is in worse condition. It is the Dehesa de las Yeguas and then the Trinity that is now traveled in slight descent from the level 715 m, leaving a limestone saw to the south, the Lastonares, and a wild valley wooded down to the right.
The hamlet reached (km 19.2) is the Alhajuela, strategically located at the source of the stream of the Oleanders, once used to supply a watering fountain with six piles and now for the raft of the fight against forest fires, inside Monte Público and with the heliport next to it. The descent ends in the stream, and although the track usually muddies the ford of each rebate is concreted to ensure access to the facilities below. You reach kilometer 46.5 of the Torcal road between Villanueva de la Concepción and Antequera and 20.7 of the Path from its beginning. You have to travel a stretch of about 600 meters along the gravel shoulder. Here it is joined from the southeast the GR 7 E4.
The Birth of the Villa and Cerro San Cristóbal (until the end of the Stage)
The limit of the Natural Park (which is also Monte Público) is just to the left when you take a lane (it coincides from time to time with the ancestral Camino de la Alhajuela) that leads to the Birth of the Villa. Both the European GR and the SL-A 22 that begins here continue along the northern slope of Sierra Pelada, while the Variant traces a loop through accessible walkways passing through the lower edge of the cold water pond that delimits the recreational area for public use. To the north and along a small path, you cross the A-7075 that was abandoned a few meters up by a beautiful exposed brick sewer.
The sidewalk ascends in the dense pine forest of this second forest spot of the Public Mount named La Alhajuela and Cortijo Guerrero. Some those eastward lead to a firewall where you already take the southwest direction that will not be abandoned until the end. However, reaching the network of dirt tracks and firewalls of the pine forest causes the Path to change its firm. There is a monolith pointing to the name of the main lane, Salvador Pereña, and from here begins a long straight stretch with concrete bumps. In the vicinity of a multiple crossing is left behind the pine forest of Monte, which had been relegated to the right flank of this elevated moor.
Formerly this entire area of clays, hilled and exposed to the winds, was occupied by vineyards, whose cultivation has not recovered so far since it was lost when the plague of phylloxera arrived, around 1884. At kilometer point 24.3 you reach a new highland at 655 meters of altitude, and a descent begins that leads to the stream of the Lizards and the gate of the Castle, whose access is ignored by a stony path in new ascent next to the perimeter fence. Again at the top of the hills, a ship on the right marks the Cerro de San Cristóbal, on the right, past which you can finally see to the northeast, in the Llanos de Antequera, the famous Rock of the Fall in Love.
The slopes of plaster with albaidas, esparteras and low scrub begin to lose height, so the steep lane, now wider, has been cemented and traces some sharp curves. This whole stretch from the source is a very old and well-known Livestock Way, the Realenga del Puente de los Remedios, which takes its name from the viaduct that ends Stage 1 of Variant 249.4, in the eastern area of Antequera, which is reached by crossing the Río de la Villa from La Moraleja.