3,139 f
2,048 f
8.34 mi

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near El Berro, Murcia (España)

This walk needs a minimum of 3 and 1/2 hours walking time plus viewing and eating time. When I last did it I was out just under five hours. There is a steep and very rocky climb out of the Barranco (see glossary) de Valdelaparra (valley of the vine) where extreme care is needed. Preferably don’t go alone as the climb has great potential for ankle injuries. There is a long (4km) road walk which can be dreary but which has magnificent views over the barranco and back towards El Berro. Strong boots and long trousers are recommended in order to avoid minor injuries. Obviously take ample food and water.

GLOSSARY (to cover all eventualities and in no way intended to be patronising)
A barranco is a dried up water-course
A re-entrant is where the path makes a ‘u’ or ‘v’ shape round the top of valley.
A cairn is a mound of stones such as you may find as a landmark or memorial on a hilltop or skyline. They are much used in Sierra Espuña as way-markers and can vary in height from a few inches to a few feet.
A manantial is a spring, fountain or water source. In this case it is a water-bottling plant, Fuente Dueñas.

The route
1. From the campsite turn right twice to go along the back of the site until a left turn appears; take this up to the cemetery then turn left again, alongside the wall.
2. Stay on this path, pass through a gate in the park fence, and continue until reaching The Spiral (unmistakable). Take the path to the right.
3. Climb through the trees until you emerge from the wooded area and soon you will pass a large cairn by a solitary tree. Ignore the faint path to the left and continue straight ahead. The path is well trodden and well-cairned. Keep an eye open to your left for the Lizard Stone,(a long rock, very cuboid in shape and with a suggestion of a head at one end) close to the path.(probably 30 - 35 mins from start)
4. After about 45 minutes you will come to a summit facing some orange cliffs. Follow the path down the hill and turn right at the bottom. The path is still cairned and trodden.
5. This is the start of a lengthy section of similar walking round three re-entrants.
6. After the third re-entrant look out for an enforced, very short diversion from the path because of a low hanging branch. Shortly after this you need to turn left over a low wall where the path leads to a rockfield. This turn is cairned and trodden but may be easily missed. Additionally, although there are plenty of cairns, they are well camouflaged because of being on a rocky terrain.
7. This path will lead you to a gate through a park fence; go through this and turn left, staying close to the fence and entering the wooded area. Shortly after entering the wooded area you will come to a ‘y’ junction. You need the path to your right (it is cairned and well-trodden). This is another single track along a hillside and leads you down to the Barranco de Valdelaparra. Turn left towards the concrete wall across the Barranco, looking out for the cairn on your right. This may be a good lunch spot with rock seats and shelter from any breeze. If you prefer to do the climb out of the barranco before eating, there are good opportunities for sitting when you reach the road.
8. The cairn will get you started on the climb and the second cairn is visible from the first. Begin by ignoring the gulley slightly to the left of the cairn and going straight up towards the second cairn. At the third cairn immediately start looking left for another cairn and head towards that across the top of the gulley. Once you have reached the next cairn the path becomes clearer and more cairns appear. Follow these until eventually climbing over the water-pipe and arriving at the road. The water-pipe supplies Fuente Dueñas (see below).
9. Turn right down the road. After about 1 km you will reach a gate across the road at a junction with a track to the left, also with a gate. Keep to the main track straight ahead, heading down towards the manantial. Stay on the road for about another 45 minutes(ish) until you come to a cross-roads with obvious tracks to the left and right; yours is to the right and leads down to La Hoya de Las Nogueras (Valley of the Walnut Trees). Follow the track which becomes a single-track for a little while but then widens out again. Keep to the left at three junctions then turn right at the fourth. Stay on this track to the obvious junction at the bottom where you will see Bernardo’s Tree, a walnut tree planted in memory of a local man who died a few years ago. Turn right here, keep left where a rocky barranco comes in from the right, climb a steep concrete road past some dwellings until you reach a crossroads; turn left.
10. Stay on the road, veering to the left as you crest a rise, and continue climbing until you can see the goatshed, the cemetery and El Berro. You will soon reach the completion of the loop. Turn right at the road and retrace your steps from earlier in the day.
  • Photo of Lizard Rock
Lizard Rock
Right turn to la Hoya de las Nogueras. 2 hrs 45 mins(ish)


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