The unknown and magical San Juan River

The unknown and magical San Juan River

Approximate length: 20 Kilometers
Duration: from 5 to 7 hours (with stops).
Slope: practically flat in all its route.
Character: hiking, mountain biking, horse.

Places of interest:

  • Castroserna from above
  • Castroserna below (Romanesque church)
  • Castle of Castilnovo
  • Mill of the sources of the river san juan san miguel de neguera (unpopulated)

Botanical notes:

  • Holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia)
  • Juniper (Juniperus thurifera). Precious specimens in castroserna from below walnut (Juglans regia)
  • Willows (Salix sp.)
  • Fresno (Fraxinus angustifolia)
  • Choppers (Populus sp.)
  • Blonde (Blonde tintorum)
  • Beleño (Hyosciamus niger)
  • Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

The San Juan River runs placidly between the Sierra de Guadarrama and the Duratón, to which it gives its waters, in the northeast of the province of Segovia. The San Juan River is an anonymous river, a river almost unknown perhaps because of the fame of the Hoces del Duratón, its older brother who luckily or unfortunately (you never know) has stolen all the limelight. And yet he has nothing to envy him. Throughout its course churches have risen that have been populated by people coming mostly from the north of the Peninsula; castles in a border land that was necessary to strengthen before the enemy that came from the South. Along its shores the man knew how to get the most out of it by building mills, breaking their fields for labor fields and taking advantage of its leafy trees to raise their new homes from wood, clay and stone.

From the decade of the 50 of s. XX a new migratory movement takes place. The people of the Castilian countryside, and Segovia was no exception, leave for the industrial nuclei of the north and the great capitals, especially Madrid, in search of a better future. Slowly the towns and villages of northeastern Segovia are depopulated, the houses are crumbling under the weight of years, and time extends a cloak of oblivion and silence.

Oblivious to the history of men, the waters of the San Juan River have continued to run since the dawn of time. The shadow of the griffon vulture is projected from the high cliffs of the canyons that the river, almost at its mouth in the Duraton, has pierced over the centuries, perhaps as tribute and admiration to his famous and famous older brother.


Description of the itinerary

The beginning of our route is located in Castroserna de Arriba. We leave next to the church on a path that descends towards the river. As soon as we cross a small bridge with wooden handrails, we turn to our left along a gentle slope next to the fence of a chalet that we surround to, from here, always take the same direction that the river leads to our left and that we will not leave until the end of our route.

From here and always along the right bank of the river our path runs through the valley floor, sometimes delimited by the vertical limestone walls where the griffon vulture nests.

A magnificent specimen of juniper welcomes us in Castroserna de Abajo. It is worth leaving for a few minutes in this small town to contemplate with tranquility its church, its houses of Castilian architecture and its stone corrals fused with the reddish walls of the canyon. In one of these corrals we are surprised to see the existence of hives in old trunks of hollowed trees.

At the height of the hermitage of the Virgen de los Remedios we must leave our path along the river and cross it looking for the road that in six kilometers will lead us to the foot of the Castle of Castilnovo. Here we must continue along the small branch that descends to the road from segovia to cherry tree below, sg 205. We cross this and continue along a well-defined path that will lead us to the local road from Segovia to Sepúlveda. Once here we cross to its left side and continue through it to a stone bridge that crosses our river. After the bridge we take the path that goes to our left.

It has left the San Juan River in this path between the roads that cross it, the valley of vertical stone walls, and for a few kilometers it opens onto a wide fertile plain as if wanting to take a breath knowing that it will return to encañonar again almost to its end in the duraton.

We follow, then, our path always in the same direction as the river now situated on our left.

At the height of Consuegra we came across a road that fords the river. We must leave the road and continue almost cross-country always parallel to the river until we reach the local road that goes towards sepúlveda, the sg-232. Descending a few meters by this one we must take the road located in its right margin, in the direction of our march, just before reaching the bridge that returns once again to cross the river. Continue our path about 600 meters along this road which we must leave on our right, just when it starts to get steep, to look again for the channel of San Juan.

Once here the road is well visible and will continue to ford the river once in a while. It will pass now and almost to the duraton embedded between vertical walls, escorted by leafy poplars and watched from the air by the scrutinizing gaze of the vultures.

arrived at the sources of the San Juan River, easily located in the distance by the water deposit of its catchment, we must continue on its right bank that in a few kilometers will take us to the mill of what was San Miguel de Neguera (which, by the way, it takes its name from another saint, like the river that we have been following) and that now they are no more than a jumble of stones that barely stand on their feet.

  • Where. Acastroserna above is reached from Segovia by the N-110 or road from Soria to the height of Pradena. Once here we cross the town and just at the exit an indicator shows us the address.
  • When. Any time of the year is good, although they are recommendable spring and autumn, this one especially interesting for the leaf change of the poplar trees that populate some stretches of the river.
  • Who. Its flat and uncomplicated layout makes it suitable for anyone, although considering the length of its layout. a shorter option could be from aldealcorvo, located on the riaza county road, and practically in the middle of the route.
  • Mapping. Sheet 431 1 scale: 50.000 of the national geographic institute.
  • Curiosities. Etymologically neguera derives from the Latin "necaria", which means necropolis, due to the existence of a Visigothic necropolis. likewise the nearby population of sebúlcor derives from "sepulcher", having verified the existence of a hispanoromano and visigodo town in the hill of castillejo (pl siguro llorente. "meaning of the names of the towns and depopulated of segovia").