Cabecera Hotel Tierra de la Reina
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BOCA DE HUÉRGANO - VALVERDE

Brief description of the itinerary:Acebal de Valverde.

Begins and ends this  pathway in two towns of the shire of Tierra de la Reina (Land of the Queen), in the Eastern Mountain of León , examples of secular occupation of  mountainous areas with difficult habitat by agro-pastoral communities. Both towns, in different scale, are nowadays  in painful process of depopulation

In regards to the information and descriptions that in the future we offer to hikers, the journey is divided in a natural way, in the following stretches. That we will mark with successive land signs.

1. Starts at Boca de Huérgano the first tranche after the bridge on the river Esla and runs parallel to this, upstream, during about 1 Km: El Travesero.

2. Reached  San Antonio Hermitage, at the end of  Travesero, we take southbound, leaving on our left the town of Villafrea and getting in Arbolande Valley. During the next Km the way is common with the P. R. Path Matapiojos marked by Picos de Europa Regional Park.

Travelled this distance, we find the fork: we abandon the way to the right that crosses the stream (Matapiojos Signal) and keep southbound by the main way that follows the bottom of the valley in ascension barely perceptible for another two miles, at the end of which the way turns clearly eastwards, increases its tilt and we feel the progressive replacement of the meadows by the forest and upland pasture. After A Km of progression towards east we get to the shepherd's hut of “Campistro”.

3. In the next Km, the way (that in its previous and post tranches has been recently transformed in a forest track  accessible to off-road vehicles, of doubtful convenience) continuous eastbound and begins to rise notoriously in a landscape of mountain pasture land bordered by oak woods and locked to the left by the peak of  La Rasa (2000 m.) and on the right by “La Loma del Collado del Alto”, slope that divides the waters of Villafrea and Siero to which we will get later on. So we arrive at:

4.Evident fork. On our left the path of “Los Pandos” leads to the town of Barniedo. We left it and take the path to the right that in south-west direction and averagely pronounced ascension leads us in half a Km to the “Loma del Collado Alto” the slope abovementioned

5. This last stretch, which provides no possibility of loss, lead us, in about 5 Km at the end of our journey in Valverde, first skirting from the “Loma del collado del alto la varga”  through a strong oak wood and later, in soft descend, sightseeing the meadows first and finally the hamlet, the town of  Valverde. Approximate duration will have been  2,5 -3 hours.

 

We believe the environment of our journey of maximum interest for the wealth of landscape values, naturalistic, and ethnographic that in the short stretch of the journey offers to the hiker.

1. Geological-landscape aspects: our journey is inside the privileged space where geologic paleozoic formations of  the Cantabrian Range intersect with the alpine rising that leads to the formation of the Peaks of Europe and its peripherical ramifications: Espigüete, Riaño Rocks... This results in a landscape of extraordinary beauty and high formative value. Avoiding a wide description we stress the following milestones:

From different points of our journey we could preferentially see the erosive action of the rivers
that creates the valleys in which bottom lie the towns that mark out our journey Villafrea, Siero, Valverde.

From the Campiestro we watch, almost at hand the gelifraction process that pulps vegetation and fragments the bedrock of the top of  “La Rasa”.

From the pass the wealth of the landscape offered to the eyes is unsurpassable: all around to all horizons, strong seasonal forests vying for space with mountain pasture. That not so long ago hosted herds of merino. To the north the Picos de Europa show its highest tops, to the west La Peñas de Riaño, protector numens of the whole shire, rule with their unreal crests.

A km forward, which we believe the top moment of our journey: through the oak forest suddenly emerge, landmark, unbowed, straight, the pyramidal silhouette of Espigüete as if the forest had wanted to join in the corundum of its greenness the nobility of old silver of the huge limestone.

2. Naturalist Values: We are in one of the largest biological diverse space in Spain and Europe, in whose protection and conservation we all should be committed.

Here dwells the cantabrian brown bear, whose tracks are not rare in time of winter snowfalls; deers and roe deers are so usual that we can find them in any bend of our way; in the limestone ridges of Espigüete we can see the chamois; all kinds of  mustelids have their home in the thickness of the forest, also the wolf, viciously persecuted.

Dozens of species of birds, at last, rule the airspace, from the royal eagle to the nightingale of feverish singing. To reconcile our presence with theirs is our responsability.

3. Ethnographic values: For not to prolong our description, just one sample (intelligent walker will know to discover all others): From the Collado del Alto de la Varga dividing the waters of Villafrea and Siero, we have an incomparable vantage point from the interpretation of the secular occupation of a mountain valley by a human community: the town of siero de la Reina.

At the end of the valley, at the intersection of two streams, open to the communications, the hamlet of the town. At the bottom of the valley, meadows till the level where small water works divert the fertiliser water from the flow of the creek.

In the sunniest hillocks around the village, terraces for planting cereal (the rozas) rise up to where the slope of the hills allowed it. And enveloping it all, the forest, along the centuries inexhaustible source of resources for the highland community: fuel, tools, building materials and value of exchanges in barterers with communities in the castilian plane.

In regards to basic services, taken into account the briefly of the way, the little difficulty, and the existence of towns of reference in all its tranches, we consider that are enough. Boca de Húergano, head of council, has all basic services related with its function: bakery, grocery store, doctor and pharmacy, camping and the services of a modern and welcoming hostal. In Villafrea de la Reina, camping is allowed in summer period; Valverde, end of our journey, has a small canteen, also has Siero. Eight Km away of Boca de Húergano, Riaño, head of the shire, hosts a police station (Civil guard), that puts us in contact with help services and rescue that in extreme cases we could need.

Hotel Tierra de la Reina, Ctra. Santander, 6, Boca de Huérgano, 24911 - León Telephone: 987 740 100