The evolution of living conditions, neighbors, populations and the environment, in addition to obtaining improvements and greater development, is leaving behind a collective memory that may in many cases disappear. It is the older neighbors, and some old archives in the form of documents, that give proof of what was there, what was, and what lasted and how it lasted. The fountains or old springs are part of that often intangible memory of the passage of time. The people of the field were the ones who generally took care of its maintenance, and its survival; because through them they assured the sustenance of water in the hard work of plowing, furrowing or traversing the lands, and staying in them for long hours. Resorting to water to quench personal thirst or that of animals constituted the spring of shepherds and farmers, who tried to have clear and clean water to drink, and arranged the trail of it as a trough for flocks, ropes of mules, males, horses, as well as for the benefit of other animals in the environment. The municipal or bread Guardian, and the hunters also had special zeal in its maintenance.
Development is the main reason why many of these sources or springs, which extended throughout the municipal term, were in some cases abandoned, neglected until they disappeared, swamped or semi-hidden. The arrival of the machinery to the field was one of the consequences that led to greater agility in labor and tasks, and with it less permanence in the crops. Also, the diminished sheep herd, which made many livestock disappear and likewise the number of shepherds, deprived attention to them. In the same way in the past, the muleteer, the swineherd, the goatherd and the cowherd went out to the field, who with the arrival of the more extensive cattle ranching stopped grazing with their flocks.
The sources, in addition to the people who went to the field permanently, were a resource for the summer reaper crews, both Galician and Castilian, who were common in the tasks. Another factor that made these springs diminish was the arrival of the Land Concentration in 1972. With the greater extension of the plots, boundaries and some slopes disappeared.
The liveliest spring closest to the urban area is El Caño, which gave its name to the neighborhood where it is located. In its day an area was located on the outskirts of the town that was later urbanized, and today it is fully integrated into the urban area. With molds and granite headboard, and two metal cañotes, it was built in 1903 and restored in 1997, as its inscriptions say. The spring that traditionally supplied it is located on the side of the Segovia highway, about three hundred meters from the ornament. The neighborhood drank water from it, and cattle drank from its basin and basins. Currently it is a decorative element, supplied with water from the network, and another part of the primitive natural channel. El Caño is one of the icons of Valseca, a very representative social vestige, a memory of the passing of the years and the life of the town, and also in this last period used in parties and celebrations for the joke and dip, of 'Tirar al pilón ', especially in the celebration of local festivals.
From the pipe we enter the municipal area. Two kilometers from the urban area, on the Camino de Segovia, we located some reeds next to the old glass of earth and a small stream, where the Old Fountain was located. The elders say, "that where there are reeds, there is water", and that if it were slightly excavated "this spring could continue to give water." Mariano Herranz, a resident of Valseca, reminds us that this fountain "was not very much to the liking of the people, because of its flavor it was not one of the favorites", however it was widely used by the horsemen as it was at the foot of a very alternate path, since it was the natural passage to Segovia, not only for the people of Valseca, but also for those of other nearby municipalities. Florencio Llorente, 'El Chato', a retired pastor, also agrees: "He created many leeches, he drank from them when there was no other choice." Llorente gives us the testimony of yet another source in this term sheet, "the one from the Andiguelas ravine, very small and of poor quality."
For his part, Mariano Herranz points us with the index further up, where we first find the disappeared Fuente de Boones, between reeds and some poplars and where the Lagunillas de Boones, slight sprouts of water, once stood just a few meters away. . The quality of it is described by Llorente as “bad, but if there was no other left, he would drink”, says the shepherd, with more than forty years in the trade, who recalls how in his harsh vicissitudes in the field and the transhumance of the herds , "The thirst was very fucked and I have even come to drink water from the footprint of a cow or a horse."
Very close, a kilometer and a half, we located the source that survives; is undoubtedly the reference. A walk to the Fuente del Pájaro completes the walk of the Valsequeño. The descent along the path of Doña Elvira presents us with a spectacular landscape, with a monument that looks at us: The Alcázar of Segovia, as well as the mountains and the valley towards the Eresma. The fountain is history and living memory for both Valseca and Zamarramala. It is located between the two municipalities, although it is true, that it is on the Valseca slope. The water flow is maintained throughout the year. Much of the blame for its current good condition was caused as a result of the voluntary rehabilitation carried out by a group of residents of Valseca at the end of the nineties. Later, a person anonymously attached to it, in a symbolic and decorative way, a beautiful sculpture of a bird in limestone. A few years later, the Agricultural Boards of Zamarramala and Valseca set up some basins on the slope as a cattle trough.
As we passed by, we left the grounds of the old depopulated area of Boones, slightly contravening that saying collected by the ethnographer, Joaquín Díaz, in his Folklore Magazine, which says: “Between Zamarramala and Valseca, the water dries up”. Returning to the town, and looking towards it, next to the Camino Real and close to the place of Peñasquillo, it was located in the river that survives, the Fuente del Parralejo, some reeds give us clues about it. Also on a path further to the right, that of Carrero, a highway road, which connected the depopulated area of Boones with Valseca, the source of the same name survived. But we do not separate ourselves from the rope that marks the Camino Real, on whose descent and making a collision with Hontanares, "the source of the Juanpreñá was located, in the place they called the Viñas de Pichón, since in the past there were vineyards", Florencio details Llorente. The area is completed by the source of the Barranco A Medias, in the old unpopulated Maletas, very close to the Eresma river, “with a lot of water and good”, Mariano Herranz clarifies.
One of the greatest dangers that a person could encounter when drinking water in these natural springs was that there were leeches, so it was necessary to set the water well and keep an eye on its transparency. Well, there have been some scares over time, "as in the case of Emilio, who was nicknamed Uncle Sopitas, who was made to go to the emergency room by a leech and had a bad time," reminds neighbor Sebastiana Herranz.
Next to the town, we take our steps along the La Peña stream and, to the right, a small meadow takes us up to the Barranco Carlos; among its runoff flowed the missing Fuente Carlos. In this more sandy geological strip, full of steep slopes, next to a fall, on the Camino de Roda de Eresma, with many brambles, was the Fuente de El Zarzal, “with an abundant trail that reached the meadow of the football field ”Recalls Llorente.
In another more advanced slope, between reeds, the Fuente de El Tejón was embedded, in the place of the same name, "with a lot of water, but of regular quality", qualifies the shepherd. And a jump from the road a fountain was dedicated to the patron saint of Valseca, San Isidro Labrador. Only his memory remains of the San Isidro fountain. Not so in the following, the Fuente de la Poza, "with a lot of water, but bad", our protagonists assert. And in this slope of the municipal term we end with the source of La Vega, "which flowed next to the limestone rock," says Mariano Herranz; “And to which we once placed a small spout, over which water poured”, Florencio concludes; both knew about the earth, the sweat, the rays of the sun, the parched skin, and the sips in this account of fountains and springs of water and life.
And couplets of the ingenuity of that permanence gave to do, as Mariano Herranz recites to us: "The sun is setting, the clods are already amazed, the master sends us home, our kidneys hurt".
The fountain of Uncle Guerras
Our next track heads towards the unpopulated San Medel. In these lands with more fluvial characteristics, on the Las Arroyadas slope, on mining and sandy lands, was the source of Tío Guerras, which, as pointed out by some farmers, "from time to time cries some water."
Valseca's neighbor, Urbano De Marcos, explains that the fountain “is named after my great-grandfather, Juan Hernangómez, who was from Encinillas, and the one they called Uncle Guerras”, who, according to him, “came down this slope with the plows and was making the gorge of the spring, hence it stayed with that name.
At the top of this fountain, the one of El Charcón was located, "it was a large pool that gave a lot of water and that made water run all over the slope of the ravine", Llorente recalls.
One kilometer below, in the area near El Vadillo, on a flat and clayey terrain, and on a high slope, three pools of clear water flowed over the tuff. People called it the source of El Riguelo.
They maintained their fluidity until the end of the XNUMXth century. The important works to improve the Cantalejo road, with which the dangerous curve of El Vadillo disappeared, skewed these springs with the cutting of the lindazos. Currently the spill and water stain can be seen in the lateral section.
Also in the ravine of Santa María, past the Vadillo, there was another spring. And further into the San Medel hunt, on the road that leads from Encinillas to the mill and Bernuy de Porreros, at a fork, the El Soto fountain remained.
The City Council is studying recovering several spaces
A desire of many neighbors and people is to see these sources and these natural spaces recovered in the future. From the Valseca City Council, the mayor, Alfonso Gil Benito, recognizes that one of the projects in mind would be the recovery of the municipality's sources, as well as the old mines. The idea "would be to rehabilitate, document and signpost them, making them more attractive to residents and visitors," he states, as well as "recovering natural or mining spaces intrinsic to the future of Valseca's collective memory."
To achieve this objective, "our idea is to see if Segovia Sur has new Feder Funds for the period 2021-2026, or if it is provided by another administration of items in this sense".
"We are in a very initial phase, but with the idea of developing even partially these projects," concludes the mayor.
Source: The Adelantado de Segovia