Nowadays, seven flour windmills are preserved in the town of Vejer: San Francisco, San José, San Antonio, Cruz de Conil, Santa Inés, Márquez and Morillo. They date from the nineteenth century, except Santa Inés' mill which dates from the seventeenth century and Marquez's, which was built at the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the past, these mills served to grind the wheat; today they form part of the landscape and constitute an important part of the historical legacy of the town. These mills were built according to the Carthaginian model. This was a more solid construction with a lower tower an thicker walls, which adjusted better to the strong winds blowing in the coastal area of La Janda.
The mills occupy an area of approximately thirty square metres and consist of two different parts: a slightly truncated cone-shaped base and a roof. The base is built of strong masonry walls up to 1.5 metres wide, except Santa Inés' mill, which is built of ashlar blocks. The roof is a conical wooden structure covered with a sheet of zinc. It is supported by a wooden structure at the top of the base called telar, which enabled the roof to rotate and place the eight blades facing the wind. Then, the four canvas pieces (one between teo blades) were spread out depending on the strength of the wind.
These mills have got two floors; the ground floor was destined to gather the flour and store all the grinding tools and included a small cooking area under a spiral staircase that leaded up to the first floor. The first floor was the room where the grinding process took place. The miller placed the wheat into the chute, a funnel-shaped structure which enabled the grains to move down into the two grinding stones: the movable one called solera, and the fixed volandera.
Abandoned by the passing of time, some of these mills were restored by the Council, in collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía and the Diputación de Cádiz.
Start your itinerary at the Hazas de Suerte Park, located in the area of San Miguel, where you will see the first three windmills: San Francisco, San Antonio and San José. The latter of these is open to the public and contains a small collection of the typical tools of the period which can be visited for free. If you go up to the upper part of the mill, you will also enjoy stunning views of the town as well. Afterwards take a path just opposite the entrance of the park and you will arrive to La Noria Fairground. Go past the Municipal tent and you will find a lane on the left-hand side. Then, go down and you will see the stream of Doña Juana and several cereal fields which achieve their highest splendour in January. Continue your way up and you will get to the old Roman stone road which leads you to a paved road called Carretera de los Soldados. Just opposite there is a picnic area and a viewpoint called Buenavista, from where you will enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the Hill of Patria, the town of Conil and its beaches, El Palmar beach, the tower of Castilnovo and La Breña Nature Reserve as well as wonderful views of cultivation fields. Then take the path on your left and follow it until you get to a crossing and take the first way on your right. Walk down and, leaving Foncubierta (the covered fountain) on your left, take the first path on your right (Catalina Pérez's way).Continue going down until you reach the paved road, just behind the hospital. Walk some metres on the roadside and you will find a path next to a bar called Venta de los Olivos. This path during approximately half an hour and you will arrive to La Cruz de Conil Street, where you will see the mill bearing this same name and wonderful views of the town. Go down some metres and then go up the socalled Cañada San Lázaro, a severe slope which leads to La Janda viewpoint. In this place you will see Santa Inés' mill, also called the Duke's or the Marquis' mill. Take Miramundo Street and you will find the next two mills: Márquez's and approximately 200 metres ahead, Morillo's mill, both of them located in the Loma de Buenavista.
During your itinerary you will mainly see wild olive trees (Olea europaea var. sylvestris), mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus), climbing plants (Hedera helix), blackberries (Rubus ulmifolius) and wide cultivation fields.
The common birds in the area are the typical species in the area of La Janda: swallows (Hirundo rustica), turtledoves (Streptopelia risoria), partridges (Alectoris rufa), quails (Coturnix coturnix), black kites (Milvus migrans) and storks (Ciconia ciconia).
LENGTH OF THE ROUTE: 6 KM APPROX.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: LOW
SLOPE GRADE: INTERMEDIATE
Estimated time: 2 hours
START & END: HAZAS DE SUERTE PARK
Places of interest
1. Hazas de Suerte Park
This park is located in the area of San Miguel, next to La Noria fairground. San Francisco's, San Antonio's and San José's mills, built between 1860 and 1865, are situated inside this park.
Nowadays, San José's mill is open to the public and can be visited for free. On its inside you will be able to see a great variety of tools related to the gathering and grinding of the wheat, as well as other typical tools from the period.
2. Wind farm of Buenavista
You will find this wind farm at the end of Los Soldados Road, on an area currently owned by the town of Barbate. The wind farm consists of twenty six wind turbines with a diameter of 30 metres, which generate a power of 300 KW each.
3. Cultivation fields
During this walk, you will be able to see wide cereal, sunflower and sugar beet cultivation fields which create different landscapes depending on the season of the year.
4. Cruz de Conil's mill
This mill was built in 1855 by the Carthaginian miller Francisco Conesa on uncultivated land awarded by the Council (area currently occupied by Cruz de Conil Street), a strategic location which enables you to observe it from different parts of the town. In 1881, Francisco Conesa's heirs sold the mill to Francisco Guerrero Rubio. Today, the area where the mill is located is a private property.
5. The Saint
Just next to the municipal water deposit, on the highest point of Vejer, stands one sculpture known as The Saint. This statue, which represents the image of a Sacred Heart, was built between 1920 and 1930 by the Town Council in collaboration with the Church with the purpose of exalting the figure of the Sacred Heart.
6. Santa Inés' mill
This mill, also called the Duke's or the Marquis' mill, is the oldest in the town. It was commissioned by the Duke of Medina Sidonia (Marquis of Villafranca) at the top of Buenavista in the eighteenth century. It description is similar to that of the rest of the mills, with the only difference that its base is built of ashlar blocks. Today, this mill belongs to the Council,which has modified its surroundings creating a recreational area with gardens.
7. Morillo's mill
This mill is also a private property and is located in the area currently occupied by Il Maccinino Pizzeria. It was built towards the middle of the nineteenth century. The mill was operating until the 1970s and it still preserves its original roof, blades and machinery.
8. Márquez's mill
This mill is a private property. It was built in 1906. Its owner restored it completely between 1971 and 1972, he replaced the deteriorated pieces of the machinery and covered the roof with a sheet of traditional zinc. Thanks to these restoration works, the mill's state of preservation is acceptable.