Approximate length: 20 kilometers.
Duration: of 5 to 6 hours.
Slope: maximum height: 840 m. minimum height: 790 m.
Places of interest:
- Villa de Cuéllar
- Viewpoint of San Cebrián (Zarzuela del Pinar)
- Aliso (Alnus glutinosa)
- Abedul (Betula alba)
- Avellano (Corylus avellana)
- Chopo (Populus nigra)
- Fresno (Fraxinus angustifolia)
- Sauce (Salix sp.)
- Pine resinero or negral (Pinus pinaster)
- Pino silvestre (Pinus silvestris)
From the geodesic vertex located next to the hermitage of San Cebrián in the municipality of Zarzuela del Pinar, can be seen towards the north, one of the most extensive arboreal masses of Europe. An incredible pine or black pine forest extends in all directions almost as far as the eye can see. This impressive forest mass is known as Tierra de Pinares.
Perched on this natural viewpoint, nothing suggests one of the gems that this forest hides. The Cega River crosses the Tierra de Pinares Segoviana in the SE-NW direction from the vicinity of the Navafría port. When it enters this vast area of pine forests, it digs in its sandy soil, reaching some 60 meters in height with respect to the sandy plain. This shyness of which the river is proud hides a true botanical treasure along its course: black poplars, willows, ash trees, alders, hazel trees, wild apple trees, hawthorn, a long etcetera of herbaceous plants and above all two real surprises for the strangeness of its geographical situation, so much that its existence is believed previous to the last glaciations of the quaternary, are the wild pine and especially the birch.
However, the predominant species in this region that crosses the Cega River is undoubtedly the pine resinero or pino negral. And so much so that for centuries it has been a source of wealth and way of life of the bordering populations. Pine was used and almost everything was used, from its wood to manufacture farming tools and construction materials to its branches and pineapples to make charcoal, the cisco, which was used in braziers and kitchens; its green leaves for the bed of the cattle and once dry, the rump, as fuel to warm the glories. Already in more recent times took advantage, and still today is still doing, to obtain the resin, which is obtained turpentine essence or turpentine and rosin. Currently these forests treasure a very important mycological richness and that makes each autumn these pine forests and especially on weekends are filled with amateurs to such a succulent dish.
For all this we could speak of a culture, "The Culture of the Pine", which has made man for centuries to find his way of life in the conservation of a unique space and that is, now more than ever, necessary to preserve for the future generations.
Description of the itinerary
Begin this itinerary in the Segovian Bridge located on the A-601 road and just 3 kilometers from the town of Cuéllar.
For some years it was decided to condition the right bank of the river for the enjoyment not only of the fishermen but of those people who love nature. The conditioned route is divided into 7 sections that add up to a total of 16,5 kilometers. We will travel all this way and link in the final part with another signposted path: Senda el Manzano-Sotocivieco.
Our entire path runs along the river that will guide our steps through this riverbank forest. From the first meters, the leafy vegetation that on both sides forms the gallery forest surprises us. In these first stretches the poplars abound, but so do ash trees, willows, and alders, species that accompany the rivers and that need a high humidity in the soil that they populate, being always linked to the water courses. But these will not be the only plant species that we can find along our itinerary. Soon we will be surprised by the presence of the hazel tree, which, in a relatively large number, has settled on these banks. In autumn we can contemplate its fruits.
A few 2 kilometers from the bridge where we began our journey we will encounter the first birch trees. The presence of this tree is not rare in the province of Segovia but its scarce populations are found in the upper courses of the rivers, in the most shady areas of the valleys of the Sierra Segovia, so the exceptional of its location in the canyon of the middle section of the Cega river.
Like the birch, the presence of Scots pine is also surprising, not only in the path that we are taking, but also in a specific area known as The Valsaínes, making reference to the mountain town of Valsaín and that gives name among the people of the nearby towns to such elegant and slender pine.
At the end of our last section that runs alongside the river, we go up the slope of land by means of steps set with wood, to a small recreational area formed by tables and wooden benches where we can take a break or take a bite to the content of our backpacks.
Our path now continues along the edge of the canyon, obtaining an aerial view of the course of the river. During these last kilometers we will walk in the domain of the pine resinero seated on an immense sand. Here we can see the work done by the resiners in the trunks of the pines to extract the precious treasure of the resin.
At the height of the place known as The Manzano-Sotocivieco we will come across an old house of resiners of a characteristic white color that they used to shelter from the inclemency of the weather and also to store their tools. From here we can only follow the signposts of the path in the direction of the road just one kilometer. In the small parking lot next to this one, we will finish this itinerary that has given us to know one of the best preserved river stretches in Europe and it is everyone's obligation to keep it that way.
- Where. The beginning of this itinerary is located on the Segoviano Bridge in the A-601 from Segovia to Valladolid to 3 kilometers from the town of Cuéllar.
- When. Any time of the year is good to carry out this linear itinerary and without marked slopes, of approximately 20 kilometers and of low difficulty. If the distance of the route seems excessive we can make some stretches of river and return through the pine forest.
- Who. Itinerary suitable for anyone and especially recommended for school groups for their environmental interest.
- Mapping. Sheets 401-IV and 429-II scale 1: 25.000 of the National Geographic Service.
- Curiosities. 1616 and 1656 prohibit fishing in the river Cega due to the decline of existing fish populations as a result of the use of a plant: the mullein.
Very abundant throughout the province, it has chemical substances, saponins, very toxic for cold-blooded animals. That is how the green sticks were used when they were in flower and the surface of the water was hit with them. (Emilio Blanco Castro. "Segovian Ethnobotany").