GR 249. Stage 15: Villanueva de Algaidas - Cuevas Bajas
El Río Burriana
Villanueva de Algaidas was founded as various scattered nuggets of separate farmsteads: El Albaicín, La Parilla, Grill, Zamarra, Solana, Barranco del Agua, the Atalaya, and Rincona. The trigger to consolidate the population around the ravine was the Franciscan convent and the shaping of the terrain of the area: better location for defensive reasons, next to the course of water and with accessible sandstone as building material. This is the scenario of the two fi rst kilometres of the stage.
From the crossroads in the northern part of the village take a path that leads to the watchtower. The track fords a stream with the watercourse encased in sandstone and moves toward the ruins of the convent. The transit of horses and people has carved deep grooves in the calcareous rock; you can even see the spaced holes that horseshoes have left after so many years of passing by.
The convent and the Mozarabic Church are to the left, looking to the west, while the walk leads down to the right towards the river. The vegetation becomes denser and diverse in this stretch with railings which let you get close to the sandstone cliffs. Then cross the Burriana River by the Puente Viejo and go downhill to fi nd La Atalaya, which gives you an interesting viewpoint to the path you have already walked. The GR-7 E-4 separates at this point (km 1.5) and still continues along its Moorish path.
La Loma de La Cruz
Now it is time to climb a good-size slope heading north along the Camino de Aldaidas. Turn around few times to admire the panoramic views over the village with the Sierra de Arca behind, with the wind farm on top. You will passes through ruins half-way on the hill side where you can see many rabbit families and when the slope fl attens out at km 4 you are on top of the hill. Here are the Loma Vieja farmhouses, with the threshing circle you walk across and the nearby Loma Nueva. Both have Palm trees planted at the entrance. The point where three village boundaries meet is on the side of the path, but the path itself passes by a water deposit on top of a small hill and starts taking you downhill.
Pay attention during this descent and you will notice the Chaparro Bolondro, a much-loved oak tree which even was granted its own information panel down at the Cedrón farm. The hamlet is very close, but before you get there, there is a must-do stop at the Mirador of the Cedrón at km 6, advertised by various regional, Andalucían and international institutions.
Few places can offer such a wide-ranging view, perfectly explained in a panoramic poster, in the countryside of Cordoba and Granada provinces, in a spot where, as they say around here.
In Cuevas Bajas, Malaga overlooks the Genil. The descent starts to make a turn to the west and will reach the hamlet of Cedrón, with its communal oven and very intense history. A dozen white houses cluster around the main street with its stillrecognizable “empedrado” paving, which the path leads along. There is a detour nearby to the Moheda, but the GR opts to pass beside the farmhouse of the Molinas, and by the Paraje de Montecillo (km 7). Go down towards the asphalted track until you come to the road which leads to the village of Cuevas Bajas. You enter the village from the south-east via Calle Archidona. It passes through the main square by the Church of San Juan Bautista with its brick facade Baroque Clock Tower whose belfry contains three bells. The stage ends beside the river Burriana, almost where it reaches the Genil, in an Avenida lavishly dotted with panels suggesting hiking and kayaking.
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: There are two connections, Seville-Granada A-92, A-7201 from Archidona and the A-7221 from Antequera.
Starting point: At the crossroads of MA-6416 with the MA-7203 to Cuevas Bajas, at the northern end of the main centre of population of the village.
Enjoy the walk safely: You have to stock up on water in the heat, since there is no drinking water along the walk. Be careful with the traffi c on the road before reaching Cuevas Bajas. The paved track before that does not hold danger as there is scarce transit of vehicles.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: From Villanueva de Algaidas the MA-7203.
Finish point: Arroyo of Barranco Hondo, after crossing the village of Cuevas Bajas, at the south-western tip of the village.
Possible "escape routes": They are not necessary to plan at this stage, given its short length and low difficulty.
No return point: Once you are on top of Cerro de la Cruz it is worth it to continue going down instead of coming back. The settlement El Cedrón is already quite close.
Connections to other footpaths and trails: Connections to other footpaths and trails The main novelty for the GR at this Stage is the fact that it follows entirely the 7th section of Camino Mozárabe of Malaga, coming from Cartaojal. At the beginning, you will traditional paths, like the Camino de Algaidas to Loma Vieja. The fi nal section walked on the road, is called Colada de Cedrón which also passes through la Moheda.
The twin GR, 7 E – 4, on this occasion only shares with the Great Path of Malaga a section along the ravine of the river Burriana, and then follows the course of this river to reach the same destination. They separate at km marker same to reach the same destination. They are separated at kilometre 1.5, at its access road to the Atalaya. The PR-A 129 circular of Villanueva de Algaidas is 7, 5 km long and connects two nearby settlements, itcoincides with the GR from the beginning of the stage up to the bridge on the Burriana, but then turns towards the east to complete its loop. The Town Hall in Cuevas Bajas has designed three short tours under the heading of Routes for a Healthy Life. Two of them go to the vegas del Genil to the eastern part of the Fernández Lake and the west of the farmhouse of Isla Grande and Las Huertas. Both share the starting point at the municipal gymnasium. The third walk climbs la Moheda and El Cedrón, and the itinerary resembles more the GR-249.