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Sunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River

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Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River

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Trail stats

Distance
8.21 mi
Elevation gain
1,457 ft
Technical difficulty
Moderate
Elevation loss
1,391 ft
Max elevation
1,097 ft
TrailRank 
75 4.3
Min elevation
87 ft
Trail type
Loop
Moving time
3 hours 52 minutes
Time
6 hours 13 minutes
Coordinates
2367
Uploaded
October 10, 2021
Recorded
October 2021
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  •   4.3 1 review
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near Jimena de la Frontera, Andalucía (España)

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Trail photos

Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River Photo ofSunny Walkers 101021: Jimena de la Frontera - Arroyo del Cañuelo - Escondida Lagoon - Hozgarganta River

Itinerary description

A circular route through the Alcornocales and the surrounding area of Jimena de la Frontera. Starting from the Pasada de Alcalá, the first section is through the spectacular Garganta de las Viñas and Cañuelo stream passing the impressive San Francisco mill that still preserves part of its structure. Then our way will continue to the Lomas de Cádiz where we will make a stop to see the hidden lagoon and its source. Then we will look for the approach to the upper part of the Garganta de Gamero to begin the descent towards the Hozgarganta river. Once we have crossed the river, we will return to our starting point along the path of the Hozgarganta river and its flour mills, ending at the Cao de la Real Fábrica de Artillería.

Route Detail & History
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We begin our route on the other side in the Pasada de Alcalá, next to the bridge that crosses the Hozgarganta and we take a path that runs parallel to the right bank of the Hozgarganta river.
On the other side of the river we have the Cao del Real Fábrica de Bombas de Artillería de Carlos III. At the end of our route we will pass through there and I will talk a little about its history.

Above our path is the old El Regüé fountain, located on a private estate. Its origin dates back to the 18th century and was part of a system for the collection, decantation, distribution and storage of drinking water from which the jimenatos were supplied. Apparently this system was designed so that the supply of drinking water was not interrupted during times of flood of the Hozgarganta River. This allowed the collection of water without the need to ford the river during floods. Today the fountain is abandoned and unused. The source is located a few meters above between the sandstone rocks. Although it is no longer visible, it has an old pipeline made of fired clay tubes to carry the water to the reservoir, currently quite deteriorated and from which hardly any water comes out.
Alcubilla that was part of the source water distribution system
Here the water was decanted as it passed through the entire network.
All gates and railings must be left properly closed because this way we avoid that the cattle go to the neighboring farms and the shepherd has to go to retrieve them.
The road runs through a dense forest of short trees and gall oaks.
We make contact with the channel of the Cañuelo stream, a tributary of the Hozgarganta River and we will walk close to it until we reach the San Francisco mill.
On this occasion no wading as the stream was dry in the middle of the Garganta de las Viñas and arrived at the San Francisco mill, one of the eight that the population had. It is one of the most spectacular mills of all that I know, along with the Pontón de Benaocaz.
On the banks of the Hozgarganta and Guadiaro rivers, within the municipality of Jimena de la Frontera, we can see the presence of flour mills that in their day performed the function of grinding the cereal, supplying flour to the entire population between the seventeenth centuries. and XVIII. The documentation available refers to eight mills: Rodete, La Peña, Gaitán, Esquivel, San Francisco and Lucas, all on the Hozgarganta river, while those of the Gallego, La Cerejana and Francés on the Guadiaro river.
Bread has traditionally been one of the staple foods for humanity. For its preparation, the population of this region has used the mills in order to obtain wheat flour. The water is collected from the river through chaos, which takes it to the lower part of the building where the rodezno is located, which is what facilitates the driving force to move the grinding machinery thanks to the water. The wheel is moved in a circular way by means of a system of spoons. This movement is transmitted by the iron blade, which is an axis, to the millstone, called the solera.
Electricity and the appearance of motors powered by this type of energy led to the abandonment of these heritage elements. The wheat is already ground in the electric shredders and the mills have gradually been turned into dilapidated buildings. In some places they have been recovered and are part of ethnographic museums that can be visited.
The Hozgarganta river is born at the confluence of the Sauceda and Pasada Llana gorges, at an altitude of about 160 meters, crossing one of the best-preserved corners of the Alcornocales until its mouth in the Guadiaro river. For 35 km it runs through the wide valley that he himself has carved over centuries, and irrigates the rich plains of Jimena, Castellar, San Pablo de Bueceite and San Roque with its waters. It is one of the few unregulated river courses in its basin, not presenting any reservoir or dam. This is one of the causes that lead to its biological richness. We find here a multitude of species of plants, fish, amphibians and insects that require excellent conditions of conservation of the channel and quality. The absence of regulation also conditions the absence of riparian forest, since in times of heavy rainfall they make the water supply grow, uprooting and taking the possible seedlings that grew. Only the robust oleanders and some bushes resist these winter floods.

We leave on our left a track that descends from the Cruz Blanca, near the campsite, and we connect with the official path of the Hozgarganta river that we will do in its entirety.

In this section of the river Hozgarganta, which the path runs along its left bank, there are one of the traditional and respectful uses of the natural environment: the mills moved by the force of the water. On the route, we must highlight the flour mills of El Gaitán, Las Peñas or Felipe and Rodete, as well as the “Fábrica de Bombas” with its Cao or water conduction channel, from the 18th century and built mainly for the siege of the Rock of Gibraltar.

The beasts passed through here with the water jugs and also to carry or collect the sacks of flour or wheat from the mills. These holes were made so that they put their hooves there and did not slip on the stone.

A few meters later, the Cao de la Real Fábrica de Artillería begins. The cao or canal transported water from the Hozgarganta River to the blast furnaces of the Royal Artillery Factory, which needed a large amount of water, especially to move the air bellows of the foundry. It fell into disuse in 1789.
Under the reign of Carlos III, there was a boom in the steel industry and construction of war material, due to the numerous conflicts that occurred during the 18th century. Gibraltar was a hot zone and the Royal Artillery Factory was built in Jimena de la Frontera, coinciding with the siege of the Rock between 1779 and 1783. This was the time of maximum operation of this foundry, the seventh that was built in Spain, which It fell into disuse in 1789.

The main function of this industry was the construction of ammunition and weapons for said siege, and for this a large amount of water was needed, especially to move the air bellows of the foundry.

Also near Jimena, in San Pablo de Buceite, iron mines had been discovered, which would supply the factory with raw material, and the fuel used would come from the large forest masses, which can still be seen today in the Jimena mountains.

The seasonality of our rivers causes the closure of the "Pump Factory" (as it is known locally) as it does not have water regularly, adding also the political vicissitudes of the time and the poor quality of the minerals found.

After its closure, part of the infrastructure of the Cao de la Real Fábrica de Artillería was used to supply water to the Rodete flour mill.

And we arrive at the Pasada de Alcalá bridge, the starting point of our route.

Waypoints

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Comments  (1)

  • Photo of amoreno@gibtelecom
    amoreno@gibtelecom Nov 7, 2021

    I have followed this trail  verified  View more

    Great trail with lovely views, hidden lake and river scenery where to sit enjoy the tranquility and a picnic

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