14th of March
Let’s go to the far edge of Sierra Espadán natural park – Espadilla, to hike to its castle and the magnificent Peña Saganta.
We’ll meet in Valencia in the parking lot on av. Aragón in front of Mestalla stadium and drive to Espadilla. Once there, we’ll have a coffee on a terrace and start the hike. First, we’ll hike up to the castle, really close to the village, but along a steep trail. After visiting the castle, the main ascent awaits us, as we’ll gradually go around Peña Saganta, getting the chance to glance at it from different perspectives, finally reaching the peak from back side. We’ll have lunch at the peak and then make our descent back to the village along the ravine trail. Finally, we’ll have a drink on a terrace after the hike and return to Valencia.
This is one of the easternmost peaks of the great Jurassic massif that extends from Torrechiva to Onda, just where the erosive action of the runoffs and tributaries of the Mijares has been more intense, fitting into deep ravines that form large canyons (as in the case of the Piqueta and Carboneras ravines).
The entire complex system of Jurassic folds was razed during the elaboration of the Upper Pliocene erosion surface. At present, the flat culminating surface has disappeared due to the karstification and the river network, leaving only a reminder of the old erosion surfaces – a certain homogeneity in the height of its peaks.
The high section on its flattened surface offer wide panoramic views towards the sea and La Plana, Sierra de Espadán to the south and the Valley of Mijares and the Maestrazgo mountains to the west and north respectively. The observable environmental conditions are still perceived to be highly conditioned by the old anthropic labors already abandoned and by the forest fires of 1980 and 1990.
The Castle of Espadilla
The Castle of Espadilla is a high enclave that dominates the current population of Espadilla – an ancient Islamic farmhouse with mainly Moorish population (until 1609). This is ascribed to a wide Castell-de-roll region with an undeniable geographical unit known as “aigues del Millars”, located in the border line between Aragón and La Plana, and between the Maestrat and Sierra Espadán, whose waters are completely drained by the Mijares river.
The castle consists of a great keep that can be entered through the wall of the annexed enclosure. This tower occupies the highest point of the defensive complex. It has four building levels, the entrance being in the second and the third being a chamber, with a large window and a defensive terrace. From this tower comes the wall, descending and forming an oval on the southern slope. There are no towers on this side since they are unnecessary (given the steep slope).
On the opposite side of the fortification (not visible from the current village) there are two towers, as it is a more accessible area. In the old times, this was the space occupied by the town, which also had defenses, although there are few vestiges of them.
Presided by the backdrop of the slender Peña Saganta (723 meters), in the Alto Mijares region, we find Espadilla. The powerful geology, the spell of its rivers, the landscape that make it, the invigorating goodness of the town, the temperance of the agricultural field, its spring, the nature that surrounds it …
Until recent times, the town of Espadilla was called Espadella, derived from the place name espada, widely disseminated as the name of neighboring places of “espadat” – a very steep slope. The name of the Sierra de Espadán comes from Mozarabic: it was said in Romanesque parlance, but increasingly Arabicized, adapting the form of the Islamic superlative Aspat’Al-Lah <, in reference to the great sword in which the last buttress of the sierra (Peña Saganta) stands.
Difficulty: medium/high (12km with 550m of elevation gain).
Technical level: medium (steep ascent/descent from the castle, some rocky paths).
Price: 25 euros (includes professional guide, transportation, accident and public liability insurances).
Meeting point: Mestalla, parking lot on av. Aragón, 9:30
Bring at least 1l of water, lunch, warm clothes and hiking shoes.
COVID-19 Safety Measures:
– the temperature of all the participants will be measured prior to getting in the minibus
– hand gel use (provided) is mandatory
– wearing a mask is mandatory in all closed spaces