Acebuchal Valley - Puerto de Frigiliana - Acebuchal

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Acebuchal Valley - Puerto de Frigiliana - Acebuchal Village Circuit

The Parque Natural de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama is a magnificent tumble of unspoiled mountains, stretching over 35km from east to west and 20km north to south, almost deserted save for the crumbling ruins of abandoned cortijos and shepherds' huts. It has a wonderful variety of scenery and habitat. The lower slopes are cloaked with forests of pine, evergreen oak, or open garrigue. The higher slopes are more alpine, with small, delicate flowers clinging to the rock. The highest peaks are sheer crags of bare rock stark against the sky. Rushing streams plunge to the coast, carving deep, shaded valleys and gorges between the mountains. Birds, butterflies and small reptiles abound, wild pig root in the scrub and ibex graze the slopes.

The village of Acebuchal was a staging post on the ancient mule trading routes between Frigiliana and Competa and between Nerja and the Granada plain. Most remarkable was the regular trade in fish. Muleteers from the coastal villages literally ran through mountains overnight, clutching the tails of their mules to help themselves along, as they carried fish landed on the coast one day for sale the following morning in the towns and villages of Granada.

Later, the twin villages of Acebuchal were caught between government forces and guerrillas in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and abandoned for half a century. The villages are now restored and reoccupied and a cool bar offers welcome refreshment to passing walkers (but not on Monday!)

This walk offers the full range of Axarquia's spectacular scenery. Starting from the olive groves, vineyards and scattered carobs of the lower valley of the Arroyo del Acebuchal, it winds up across slopes covered with cistus and rosemary, lavender, helianthemum, thyme and a host of other wildflowers. Next we follow a normally dry watercourse to the Collado de Blanquilla, a high pass into the Higueron Valley, where we get splendid views across the Sierras de Enmedio and Competa. A good track then winds gently down along the side of the valley to cross the rushing headwaters of the Rio Higueron. Now we follow its course up a steep path through pinewoods before winding around a series of small, high side valleys to cross into a broader valley to the east. Here, we join a dry watercourse which we follow across scree and open garrigue to the Puerto de Frigiliana, on the watershed between Malaga and Granada Provinces. At this pass, looking out across the pine forests to the north, we meet a track which we could follow all the way down into the huge valley which stretches westwards from Granada. On this walk however, we retrace our steps into the Acebuchal Valley, but this time, drop down into the dry bed of the Arroyo de Acebuchal and return via the village of Acebuchal Alto to our start point.

Spain - Southern Spain - Malaga - Axarquia

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Mountains, Pub, Restaurant, River, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
03/04/2019 - Graham Barthorpe

The trail can still be followed to the summit from the narrative although some photos are of little help now. This was a really good walk spoilt by a tedious return journey along the same route. There is a considerable amount of loose scree on steep slopes and great care is needed. I measured the distance at approx 18 miles, considerably more than the 12.4 miles in the narrative. The climb was 1000m, again, considerably more than stated.

25/02/2013 - Graham Barthorpe

This was the toughest walk of our holidays and to be fair it pushed my wife to her limits. Lots of dry river beds,loose screed and narrow paths, not the only time we resorted to scrambling but if this is not your thing, look elsewhere. I would give this 5 except for the fact the return trail was almost identical to the out trail.

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