Saturday, 18 March 2017

Walking the PRV201 from Sant Mateu

We're into our last week at Camping l'Orangeraie now and have both loved this beautiful tranquil campsite. The glorious hot sunshine is an added bonus - we'd started to think the might be our first sun-free winter! On Thursday we returned to nearby Sant Mateu for a good tapas lunch at Bar Moderno in the Placa Major - I can recommend the delicious Ensalata Mixta - followed by what was supposed to be a 11k walk following in Roman footsteps and viewing the ruins of a medieval mill.

Our walk started out well. The route is the PRV201 (map and more info here) which has fairly frequent new signposts as well as yellow and white stripe markers. It starts out going away from the town along the Sendero Via Augusta from Placa de la Pietat in Sant Mateu where there is parking and a signboard showing a map of the town's several walking routes. Our first historical spot was the Pont de la Coma, a small old-looking bridge over a river that actually had water in it! (rare for this part of Spain!) The short concrete pillar you can see to the right of the bridge was moulded with the words 'VIA AUGUSTA' and its wheel symbol so we guessed there was a bridge or ford here in Roman times too - although this one looks more recent.

Pont de la Coma 
Moli Vell 
We continued a while longer, enjoying the scenery and pretty easy walking. Disappointingly though, shortly after crossing a larger road the PRV201 led up through a farmyard which had fenced across the path temporarily in order to move cattle. We decided to retrace our steps to the road and make a short detour. This cut across the middle of the walk meaning we missed out hill country views, but were able to proceed in the 'wrong' direction as far as the Moli Vell. This fifteenth century Old Mill is now in ruins and you can probably just make out its two stone constructions in this photo. It's big and sits above what is now a dried up rambla. We got a good idea of how fast water still flows along here in flood times though from the numerous tumbled boulders.

After exploring around the rambla for a while we turned back towards Sant Mateu and continued the walk as though we had done the whole loop, passing a spring and just about being overtaken by a jogger running much shorter loops up and down a steep hill - in this heat! We appreciated seeing a different aspect to this area from the coastal and agricultural areas.

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