Distance: 7 kms
Directions - Drive to Manilva from Sabinillas. Keep on the main road round Manilva as though travelling to Gaucin. Before leaving Manilva the road narrows at a sharp right hand bend. There is a wooden signpost on the right indicating a walk to Casares. Park anywhere here.
Start Point / Finish Point - Manilva
Essential Equipment - Walking shoes or boots are required.
From the wooden signpost mentioned above walk down the steep lane to join the road from the Gran Bar to the Roman Oasis. On the way down this road there are superb views of Casares over to the left and a well preserved part of the aqueduct that fed water to a mill on the opposite side of the valley.
At the 'T' junction turn left and follow the road past the Roman Oasis restaurant, bear off to the right on a rough track passing under the new toll road viaduct and then follow the signs to the Alamo Restaurant.
About 200 metres beyond the restaurant the track bears left, goes down a short hill and then turns right. On the left here is an even rougher track on the left hand side of a normally dry stream bed. It is between here and the Roman Baths further upstream that Caesar camped with his troops before his battle with Pompey at Monda.
Take this track. It soon crosses the dry stream and starts to ascend into the Utrera Gorge. Ahead and to the right are superb limestone cliffs that soon narrow to the gorge proper. Keep to the right hand side of the gorge at this point.
The track becomes narrow in places with overhanging branches but notice in other places where massive slabs of rock have been laid to make a relatively smooth road. In places there are signs of this road having been shored up with a wall to the left.
You will soon reach a section where the path disappears. Here you must take to the stream bed and clamber over the boulders. The way is obviously up. Finally you emerge at a slightly wider, flatter part of the path. On the right is a small scree slope and the way could be mistaken. Cross the stream bed here to the left bank to regain the proper path.
After another short uphill section the gorge opens out slightly and you are at the scene of the mine. On the left are some mine tailings and a small cavity with some interesting calcite growths inside. There are also some large rock slabs with parallel bore holes on the surface where the rock was drilled and blasted from the cliff when the mine was working. Beneath the cliff you may see the Flower of the Month, the Friar's Cowl.
The way becomes easier from here, although still uphill. You will soon reach an old concrete construction that looks like two small reservoirs beyond which is an area laid out with large concrete platforms. Look back from here down the gorge to really appreciate what you have accomplished, and the view with the sea in the background.
The path widens from this point and soon becomes a track again. Follow this track as it takes you out of the top of the gorge. Ahead you will see the wind turbines on the Manilva to Gaucin road. You will soon reach a short downhill section with a gate. Go through the gate and up the lane ahead through a farm yard. Bear right after the farmyard as the lane goes between cultivated fields and then left at a junction, over a cattle grid. Keep on this lane until it joins the Manilva to Gaucin road where you turn left.
The road has a wide hard shoulder on the left hand side facing the oncoming traffic and should be followed to the new roundabout above the toll road. Go straight on across the bridge over the toll road. From the bridge you can see the viaduct beneath which you walked earlier. Walk up into Manilva to your car.
© 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.