Location: Rio Guadiaro Valley between Estacion de Jimera de Libar and Estacion Cortes de la Frontera.
Start: Railway station at Estacion de Jimera de Libar.
Finish: Railway station at Estacion Cortes de la Frontera.
How to get there: Take the A369 Gaucin to Ronda road towards Ronda. About 18kms later turn left at a junction just before Alajate signposted Jimera and Cueva de la Pileta. At Jimera follow the signs for Benaojan, you will come to Estacion de Jimera de Libar in 2 kilometres. Park behind the station.
Distance: 11 kms.
Essential: Boots, waterproofs, food, water.
This walk can be accomplished as a one way walk, taking the train back to your starting point or as a there and back walk. Allow 3 ½ hours for each way. At the time of writing there is a train from Estacion Cortes to Estacion de Jimera de Libar at 1.38pm. The route is also suitable for cyclists.
If you intend to do a there and back walk from Estacion Cortes please read the entire description of the route first because at the Cortes end some signs are missing and some are misleading (see picture top right).
The start of this walk is at the level crossing at the west end of the Jimera station platform. Turn right and walk down the street until you reach a T junction with a Parque Natural sign facing you. Turn left along a good road.
You soon pass under a road bridge and onto an unmade road with the river on your right. The walnut trees overhanging the track may provide you with a few sweet nuts, the main harvest was in October but a few lingered on. After about 2 kilometres you pass a ramshackle bar called Oasis, your last chance to stock up on water.
The railway track is to your left and a short way further you cross the line at an unguarded crossing and enter open land and the track becomes a footpath. Although you are walking on a relatively flat path the scenery around is superb. The rugged ridge on your right with occasional high peaks is composed of limestone and has been weathered into formations known as karstic. The valley the railway track and this walk follows wends its way between this ridge and the lower foothills that are predominantly ahead and to your left. The open ground is dotted with clumps of oak trees on the lower slopes and maquis on the higher parts. The autumn rains have brought out the flowering shrubs, iridescent yellow Spanish gorse high on the hills and pink and white osmanthus and oleander nearer the river. In the depressions you cross, running with fierce streams after heavy rain, you can expect to see clumps of autumn crocus with their showy mauve flowers and deep yellow stamens in November.
Although the path is well marked and obvious there is one section along this stretch that may confuse the walker. The path branches with no indication of which way to go. Take the right hand path that descends slightly to a gate through which you pass. You re-cross the railway line at another unguarded crossing.
The path gradually improves into a broad track alongside the river to your right. You will pass a secluded, peaceful stretch surrounded by cane plants and oleander, where the river forms a deep, cool, pool, ideal for soothing aching feet. Shortly afterwards the track takes you beneath the railway line and starts to ascend. The line at this stage diverges to the right and down into a narrow valley before entering Estacion Cortes. Cortes de la Frontera itself can just be glimpsed high on the right, a pretty white village plastered to the side of a mountain. Continue straight on the, by now, concrete track. The walk takes you up to the left of the hill in front of you and eventually joins the road from Gaucin to Cortes.
Part way along on your left you will see a large Junta signpost indicating a route to Jimera, apparently up a well trodden path to your right as you face the sign and another way to Cortes. Ignore this sign. It has been erected in the wrong position.
A wooden post, now snapped off, once carried a sign indicating the way back to Jimera. Turn right on the road, descend to the river and so to the station. From here you can catch the train back to Estacion de Jimera de Libar.
© Nicholas Craig Nutter 2004 - 2012. Nick Nutter asserts his rights as the author of this article and all associated images. This article and images may not be copied or reproduced in any way without written permission of the author.