Sandy Paths is a route that goes through gentle hills and plains, between pine forests and green fields. It is a route with great contrasts, surrounded by a rich and diverse vegetation that allows you to enjoy wonderful views of Vejer, La Breña Nature Reserve. the mountains of Granada (as known as “Sierra Graná”) and the meadow of the river Barbate. It is recommendable to make this route during the spring season so that it becomes an unforgettable experience for you.
Start your route in the camping place of Vejer, located next to Los Arcos restaurant, near la Barca de Vejer (NA-340, km 39). Leave your car outside the campsite and begin to walk along the path bordering it. Approximately 200 metres ahead, you will begin a descent surrounded by pines, mastic trees and bushes. Turn left and enjoy amazing views of Vejer and the pine forest of La Breña. Continue straight ahead and turn right at the same point where the camping fences finish. Get into a narrow path with severe slopes called la trialera way. The vegetation here is even more abundant, you will mainly see pines, eucalyptus and prickly pears which achieve their highest splendour in March; sometimes the plants from the two sides of the path join and form a tunnel. At the end of the descent you will find a small picnic area, from where you can observe a beautiful panoramic view of Vejer . Now you are 4 km right from the borough of El Soto and 1,3 km left from the Barca de Vejer.
Follow the path on your right, now called La Angostura, which is covered with sand and sometimes with fossils. You will see la trialera way on your right, the plain of the river Barbate on your left and the mountains of Granada at the top.
When you get to the Venta Manolo, head left. Go past an old limekiln and various peasants’ houses and you will get to the river Barbate meadow. Thus, you will go back to the picnic area, take trialera path up (the same path you went down before) and you will find yourself in the camping place again.
In the countryside of Vejer you will find a rich and diverse vegetation, which presents different aspects depending on the season you visit the fields. You will mainly observe pines (Pinus sp.), mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus), rosemary (romarinus sp.) and thyme (thymus sp.)
The most typical birds of the area of la janda are Ibis eremita, glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), swallows (Hirundo rustica), turtledoves (Streptopelia turtur), partridges (Alectoris rufa), goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), black kites (Milvus migrans), storks (Ciconia ciconia) and spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia).
LENGTH OF THE ROUTE: 8 KM APPROX.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: LOW
SLOPE GRADE: LOW
ESTIMATED TIME: 2 HOURS
START & END: CAMPING VEJER
Places of Interest
Remains of fossils
As you go down the way, you can observe remains of numerous fossils.
The Calera (limekiln)
Traditionally the lime has been used as a mortar in the construction of buildings. However it has long been a decorative and identifying element in the facades of Vejer. The encalado or enjalbelado (whitewashing) was an activity carried out every spring, when the facades and yards were covered with various coats of lime .
The making of the lime was a long process which required the use of limestone and a calera to fire it. These handmade ovens were constructed with heat-resistant stones and used to have a circular or slightly truncated base. On the inside, people placed a bonfire and put the limestones above forming a vault. Then, the limestones were covered with firing materials, leaving a breathing space on one of its sides. Finally the fire was lighted for a period of two or three consecutive days, it was the duration of the limestone baking. After the firing the limestone was cooled during an entire day and then, the lumps were taken out of the oven and showered with water with the purpose of preparing it for its future use. This process was called apagado.
The preparation of the lime was a very complex process which lasted approximately three months and involved various tasks: cutting and transporting the firewood into the oven and then crushing the limestone in the quarry and baking it in the limekiln.
It is a medium-sized black bird with metallic reflections. They do not have any long feathers on their head and neck until they reach adult age. They have got a round red beak. they live in small groups and eat small animals which they search for among the plants and stones such as: grasshopper, spiders, beetles, frogs, lizards or mice among others.
The 96% of the Ibis eremitas have disappeared in the last eighty years . As a result, this species has been listed as being in a critical situation since 1994.
The regional Council for the Environment and the Botanical-zoo of Jerez launched an initiative called “Eremita Project” in 2003 with the purpose of recovering the populations of this species.
4. Cultivation fields
Since the beginning of this route you can observe a spectacular landscape with a rich and varied vegetation and wonderful views of its cultivation fields.