Cabecera Hotel Tierra de la Reina
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THE BIG OAK OF
SESTIL DE LA MATA

ROUTE:  “ Sestil de la mata oak”

* Boca de Huérgano, Rimuela, el Arriestro, Sestil de la mata oak,  Jollampo,  Boca de Huérgano. 

* Estimated time: 2.00 to 2,30.

* Difficulty level: easy

Roblón del Sestil de la Mata.

Our route begins in the low part of the town of Boca de Húergano, about a hundred metres from the HOTEL TIERRA DE LA REINA; there, on our right, starts Cañada Rimuela, path of secular use for shepherds, both to “common cattle” as to transhumant herds of merino sheep that almost up to the present travelled to our shire.

The way lead us into Rimuela (rivus molae: the river of the mill, of which only remains toponymic presence), lateral valley of the river Esla carved by a stream of transparent waters.

During our progression from the valley (about half an hour) we could go watching the meadows of the bottom of the valley that reach till where small hydraulic works, redirect the stream flow that supplies the meadows the moisture needed and fertilizing slimes, and on our left the presence of an energetic oak forest over which we can easily watch the eagle ruling overflight (early in the morning, multisonorous gibberish of all birds).

    After this first time of progression in soft ascent the valley splits in Y: to the left "The Caspariellas" that we abandon. We take the way to the right (a small water tank that serves as a reference), and after short walk by a cart-path garlanded with brooms, we arrive into the most remote of the valley: the meadows of Arriestro.

In the next stretch and in appropriate times of the day is likely the presence of roe deer and deer; alike squirrels, martens, weasels. Less probably, even possible, the wild boar or, why not?, the vanishing horizon of one of the last wolves.

Towards the middle of the meadows, on our right we take an old communal way recently cleared and we get into the oak wood; progression remains of low difficulty. We can contemplate two wooded solutions: old centenary oaks seem to give shelter to burnt-out skeletons of others devastated by unhappy arsons.

Intermingled with them a multitude of young and vigorous shoots seem to sing the jolly psalmody of life renewal: if we respect them, the future of the forest is insured. Now the way turns vigorously to south, on the right, taking the direction of the return, the path has become a forest track of recent construction, which is accessible to off-road vehicles and controversial advisability: each hiker will assess from multiple perspectives its usefulness or inconvenience.

In any case, it leads us to one of the eminent places of our journey: the oak of Sestil de la Mata, landmark specimen, solemn, prodigious, totem tree of our shire, enlivened for centuries by the manure of sheep that under its shade sought shelter for the siesta. Nearby a little sheperd spring replaces the shortage of its source with the extraordinary quality of the water that it offers us. Inexcusable spot for resting in our journey.

We continue to the way that lead us (we are still rising without further difficulty) to a high prairie above the forests, place of intersection of all daily routes for communal cattle: Jollampo. Watching the wideness of the mountainous horizons we watch from here, we will understand why.

To our backs we leave the wood of Arriestro injured by fire in the lower slope of the Peak Mura, on the left, the tormented geology of the highest tops of the Cantabrian Range: Peña Prieta and Curavacas, Espigüete, Murcia...; on the right the unreal crests of the Riaño Rocks (Yordas, Las Pintas, Jilbo) reflect in the surface of the reservoir doubling its charming as if its waters wanted to pay tribute in the form of beauty for the desolation and pain they keep buried.

Opposite our sight a small wood damaged plenty of times by fire.

Nowadays human hand tries to recover it by means of afforestation.

Going down the track towards the south and taking the meadow exit on its right we bound for the way back, having reached here the maximum height, to start a smooth and continuous decline. As we advance and border this wood we discover in front of us the healthy forest Roscabao, favourite home of the brown bear, whose tracks or presence, all the locals have had the chance to contemplate. 

The way turns to the left and lead to the town for the place called "behind the church". A last stop in our journey to contemplate the simple and beautiful traces of romanesque  rural in its construction. (We will have to forgive the damage done in its building by the latest repairs, more praiseworthy in good will than in results).

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