Of monks and legends: Sickles of the Riaza River

Of monks and legends: Sickles of the Riaza River

Approximate length: 14,5 kilometers.
Duration: 5-6 hours.
ramp: Maximum height: 1.149m. Minimum height: 870m.
Character: Hiking and mountain biking in the entire route.

Places of interest: Maderuelo, Hermitage Moral de Hornuez, Interpretation Center of the Sickles of Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela, Valdevacas de Montejo, Ermita del Casuar and dam of the Linares del Arroyo reservoir.
Viewpoints: Viewpoint of Cerro el Alto de Valdevacas de Montejo
Botanical notes: Sabina albar (Juniperus thurifera), Holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia), Quejigo (Quercus faginea). Riverbank forest: Poplars (Populus sp.), White willow (Salix alba), Fresno (Fraxinus angustifolia). Aromatic plants in the páramos.


In this route that we propose for the Natural Park we will connect with several marked itineraries to reach the Riaza River by a route of the most complete and beautiful of those that make up the network of paths of the park. But before setting foot on land, it will be an advisable and almost indispensable condition to visit the Casa del Parque de Montejo de la Vega where, in addition to gathering various information, understanding the genesis that has originated the Sickles of the Riaza River, knowing the different plant and animal formations who live in this unique space, will inform us about the conditions of visit of the different paths and possible restrictions due to the breeding season of the birds.

The Refuge of Raptors of Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela was created in the decade of the 70 years, mainly because it is one of the most important colonies of griffon vultures in Europe. Since then and thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of a large group of naturalists, ornithologists and lovers of the Sickles, the refuge was consolidated and increased the number of these birds that nested in their rugged rocks. However, the future of this species in the Natural Park of the Sickles of the Riaza River is far from guaranteed. The vertebrate census that year after year takes place in this space, has shown a decrease in the number of specimens of this species in recent times and is that there are numerous dangers that lie in wait for the vultures. Perhaps the most important are the descent of muladares or feeders where this species was fed, as well as a decline of the traditional livestock hut associated with the prohibition of abandoning dead animals in the countryside, poisoning, high voltage power lines and modern wind farms. . For this reason, this space recovers a fundamental importance in the survival of the griffon vulture, not only in the province of Segovia, but also on a national and international level.

Once you make the visit to the Casa del Parque we will go to the nearby and charming village of Valdevacas de Montejo located at just 4 kilometers. Once here we will follow the PR-SG-8 itinerary, from the network of paths enabled in the park and that will take us in just 30 minutes to the viewpoint of Cerro el Alto. Sierras de Neila, Picos de Cervera and Urbión are easily discernable from this strategic point. The verses of Campos de Castilla by Antonio Machado travel down the hillside, making the landscape almost impossible to see. We will descend from Alto del Cerro, retracing our steps to Valdevacas where we will link now with the PRC-SG-7 itinerary that will lead us to the ruins of the Convent of Casuar by the place called Valdecasuar. The path runs in a soft and pleasant descent, pointing as we lose altitude, in a spectacular landscape.

PL Siguero Llorente in his "Meaning of the names of the towns and depopulated of Segovia" postulates that Casuar derives from Cova Suar, that is to say "cave of Adsuar" and this one of the Basque Adsuar. Quoting this same author Covasuar was donated by Fernán González to the Benedictine monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza in Burgos at the 931. Ancient texts tell us about a population around the monastery that was depopulated in the eighteenth century. Whatever the weather, it was a prey to its walls and what was once a place of worship and devotion today is a ruined building that has lost the roof of the main nave and is barely standing. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1.997, it enjoys today a magical and mystical aura that evokes in the minds of those who, through these canyons, penetrate past times lost in the nebula of the memory of men.

After letting ourselves be seduced by the charm of the place and having visited the hermitage, at this point we will link with the PR-SG-6 or Senda del Río itinerary that, as its own name indicates, follows the course of this upstream to the dam of the reservoir. Linares del Arroyo. During this last section of our route we will travel through the valley floor, escorted in the first meters by a leafy oak vegetation. But this route still reserves another surprise for us and it is the contemplation of the impressive viaduct, which crosses the sickles, from the railway line from Madrid to Irún.

The wall of the reservoir of the Linares reservoir stands before us, gray in all its immensity. Like the waters of the river, it cuts our steps towards the nearby town of Maderuelo. It is therefore inevitable to look back to flood our eyes, once again, the beauty of a unique space in the province of Segovia for its ecological, economic and social importance for the inhabitants of the region and that is everyone's responsibility, public administrations, visitors and inhabitants of nearby towns, protect.

Where: Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela is reached from the A-1 (Burgos motorway) taking the SG-V-9321 to Pradales, a narrow road in not very good condition that will bring us a lovely trip through the Villalvilla de Montejo and Villaverde de Montejo localities. An itinerary to go unhurried and enjoying the beauty of the landscape.

When: in the Hoces Park House (phone 921 532 459 from 10 to 19 hours from 1 from June to 30 in September and from 10 to 18 hours from 1 from October to 31 in May) can inform us of the limitations and affected paths especially in the breeding season of birds and that we must take into account when planning our itinerary. On the other hand, any time of the year is advisable as long as we take into consideration the basic and necessary measures to face the route with comfort.

Who: linear and in descending and flat terrain that make it affordable for anyone.

Mapping: sheet 375-IV 1 scale: 25.000 of the National Geographic Institute.