GR 249. Stage 12: Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
Attention please, there are some changes regarding this stage
Finished project. The access road to the town from the motorway was removed from the route, and it approached the river. The hard shoulder was extended and adapted for hikers.
The Guadalhorce River basin
The walk begins by leaving Villanueva del Rosario on the Camino de las Huertas, alongside the Arroyo del Cerezo or los Cerezos, which joins the Guadalhorce river at the stretch of road that you will be walking along. You will make a sharp turn, leaving the asphalt and circling the Cerro Cuca and then, after passing under the A-92M motorway, make another turn at the Venta Alta so that you are walking northwards following the motorway through the areas known as the Dehesa del Raso and El Ventorro.
A new underpass beneath the motorway takes the walker to an area full of trees which contrasts boldly with the previous landscape.
The Holm oak Dehesas
After walking 7.5 kilometres of this Stage, you will reach hills with the unusual name of Siegaliebres (Blind Hares), covered in Holm oak trees. The low scrub consists of gorse, thyme, Montpelier cistus and Genista umbellata with Retama Broom and Kermes Oak being the slightly taller plants. The walk is lined with fences and numerous gates; continuing uphill you will reach the highest point so far, Cerro de la Cruz, where you will soon turn 90º towards the northeast in the area of Cortijo de La Serena (o Gómez) farmhouse, and the deep pond, which remains to your right.
The landscape opens up to some extent, but you will continue to see isolated copses of 100 year old Holm oak trees, with lone examples, too. Towards the south you will notice the profile of the distant Central Limestone Arch, while to the north the horizon is closed in by the Loma del Yesar and Loma del Pinar hills. The latter is recognized by the line of pines that cuts short its elongated summit, a prelude to the forest behind.
The walk leads to some ruins (km 11.5) in the area of Calasana and begins to ascend and descend through olive groves, almond trees and non-irrigated crops until you reach the Cortijo de La Saucedilla farmhouse, by which time you will have completed almost 14 km of the walk.
La Hoz del Río Marín
The stream which flows to the north is La Saucedilla, a tributary to the Marín, but the path, after turning at a right angle towards the north, leaves it to your left, while you climb a steep slope over gypsum terrain. The walker benefits from the height gain as one can look over the previous hilly stage to the south, and the densely wooded valley to the north, which contrasts with the recent landscapes.
After circling the hill and walking a short distance along the border between the pines and thyme bushes, bear left in order to descend the 200m to the river, into an area known as Pilatos.
There is very little undergrowth below the pine trees due to their density, but they have fostered the growth of quite a few young Holm oaks. To continue northwards you will need to follow a pronounced curve at the base of the valley.
You will cross the river at kilometre 15.8, just where the river zigzags around a high outcrop of gypsum and marls, which it continues to erode. The PR A-157 continues with a slight descent, but our path changes its direction and feels as if it traces a line parallel to the river going upstream. To the left, steep, almost treeless slopes are sparsely covered by thymes and retama broom. The valley begins to open up, the path becomes a track and you start to climb, leaving the Hoz behind. Just a few metres from Archidona, you can see the shoots of some Caper plants and wild Violet cabbage (Moricandia sp), indicators that the land here is rich in clay and gypsum.iver flow.
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: The fi rst part of the way takes you along the Camino to Archidona; it does not enter the gorge for obvious reasons instead it veers off to the east.
In the Hoz de Marín, due to the uniqueness of the area, it coincides with the PR-A-157 “Hoz del Arroyo Marín”. This is a linear walk and you have to turn back when you reach the point that the streams fl ooded and destroyed in 2012. The number of fallen tree trunks and sections of disrupted pathway only allow you to walk for one kilometre downstream from where the GR connects with the riverbed. For this reason, the whole PR is used and walked in its entirety.
There is another PR, the A-125, “Archidona north-east and Hoz de Marín” which is currently not in use. There is a possibility to do a circular walk from Archidona, but walking around the area.