ROUTE FERRERÍA VELLA – FROXÁN
MONDAY, MAY 6
At this stage we enjoy the Lor River, the backbone of the sierra, which crosses from north to south through a steep canyon formed millions of years ago. Under the shadow of the typical riverside vegetation and the permanent sound of the water current, we discover all its corners before visiting the Castro de Sobredo and get an idea of how our ancestors lived. In the second part, we walk along wide paths full of flowers until we arrive to Valdomir and Vilamor, finishing the stage in the beautiful village of Froxán, an example of traditional Courel architecture.
+ 1026 m, -1107 m slope
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We begin the stage at Ferrería Vella, located 535 m high and descend to meet one of the protagonists of the day, the Lor River, which runs through a embedded valley and we will enjoy it from various perspectives.
The Lor River emerges in Fonteboa on the slopes of O Cebreiro at 1,240 m. high and after 54 km., flows into Augasmestas at 220 m. high, in the Sil River. The large rock slopes that flank it create a very wooded, inaccessible and well preserved river environment. Its main tributaries are the Pequeno, Lóuzara, Carballido and Bidueiros rivers, which create different habitats full of biodiversity in the Lor.
The path runs along a path to the left of the river surrounded by ferns and colorful heather. On the mountainside you can see an old iron mine.
Thus we arrive at Pozo das Mulas, one of the many geological monuments of O Courel. In this river landscape huge moles of limestone in the riverbed, probably coming from another area and dragged up there tens of thousands of years ago by the Pleistocene glaciers. At present, the area is very well conditioned thanks to the efforts of the neighbors of Ferreirós de Abaixo.
We leave the river towards Sobredo. After a climb we arrive at Castro da Torre, which dates from the III-IV centuries A.D. and that is located on a large slate rock in a meander over the Lor River, 761 m high. The castros are always in high areas to dominate the surrounding lands, see without being seen and be able to defend against possible enemies. Due to the influence of the Romans who came to look for gold and other minerals in this area, many of the castros in the Courel have a high degree of Romanization.
Rehabilitated in 1993, in the Castro da Torre we can see the rest of the houses, circular and oval plants those of the old castrexos (ancient inhabitants) and quadrangular fruit of that romanization. In addition, we can see part of the defensive pit carved into the rock. It is time to sit on its top, contemplate the spectacular panoramic views of the Lor Valley that our ancestors contemplated and think what life would be like here 2000 years ago.
We leave the castro and, through a magical chestnut forest, we arrive at Sobredo where, at the end of the eighth century, the monks of Samos protect the future King Alfonso II El Casto from his uncle. In the walk through the village we can see the typical corridors that link some houses with others.
From Sobredo, we continue along a path halfway up the mountain, first among trees that gradually disappear to give way to low vegetation on the path to Valdomir. The panoramic is wide, with views over the valley of the Lor with Folgoso and the Pacios de Serra mine that pierces a whole mountain.
Valdomir is a small haven of peace on the banks of the Lor River. Like other similar villages of the Courel, its existence is linked to that of an iron factory there existing since the seventeenth century, which remained active until 1885 and of which there are hardly any remains of the banzado and the old chapel, dedicated to San Sebastian, property of the former owners. The Bar A Costa is open throughout the year, which is the only service we have at all stage.
We leave Valdomir and begin the small ascent that will take us to another typical village in the mountains. As we enter the narrow streets of Vilamor we feel that time travel again. This is how our grandparents lived 50 years ago anywhere in Galicia and so they continue living in the 21st century in this Serra do Courel. Houses with large slate walls to withstand the cold winters, just windows so that the cold does not enter, the cattle under the house that also makes heating, four chickens, an orchard … and to live. Unique example of survival and where the effects of crises are not noticed because here the crisis is continuous and permanent.
The Church of San Vicente de Vilamor is from the 18th century and is visible from many points in the mountains. From it, the control over the meander that forms the Lor River with the Castro de Vilar is total. Another of the curiosities that we find in Vilamor, and that is recovering today, is the «dance of the gorges», a custom existing in the festivities of dancing inside the stables, with the ground covered with gorse, avoiding So the snow of the harsh winters.
At the end of the last century, a lady with a great entrepreneurial spirit opened in Vilamor some real houses of rural tourism. There people came and Dosinda offered you everything he had. In her house, at a long table, the best sausages of pigs raised by herself, the best meat of her cows and some tasty products from the garden began to appear. Dosinda passed away a few years ago and, from here, we want to thank you for taking care of us so well in your little village of the Courel,
We leave Vilamor and, walking halfway with great panoramic views of Castro de Lor, we arrive at Froxán.
Froxán, with its 450 meters high, is one of the lowest villages in the mountains, the sunniest and the few flat areas where some plantation can be developed. It is declared a Property of Cultural Interest for its careful restoration and its great ethnographic value, with traditional ways of life that come, in many cases, from medieval times. In a walk through its narrow and cobbled streets, with its slate houses and wooden balconies, we can check it: we are in a village but we are also in a living museum, where in each corner a story is told.
At the entrance of the village is the Fonte do Milagre, named for its healing properties that produce miracles, and we can also visit the small chapel dedicated to San Roque, built on an ancient V-century cemetery.
Froxán is one of the dynamic centers of the Courel culture, thanks in part to the work carried out by the Fonte do Milagre Association, which seeks to make Froxán a good place to live and get out of that permanent demographic crisis in the mountains. The association publishes the magazine A Candea, disseminates its best trails and recovers old traditions such as the Magosto or the Pisa da Castaña, a party that is celebrated in December and in which, having spent days drying the chestnuts in the typical sequeiros, these are introduced into a sack and, with one person on each side, they are beaten against a log to remove the shell.
In the village, a perfectly maintained “sequeiro” is preserved and in the surroundings we find large chestnut forests and cork oak plantations, from which the cork was obtained. A slow walk through Froxán, absorbing all the sensations that it produces, is the perfect end of this new stage.
|Castro da Torre
|Carrozo do Regueiro Waterfall
|Chestnut forest of Sobredo
|Top of Vilamor