allow 2 hours inc. stops
and rough track
Footwear, Camera, Water
Ermita del Popúl
Ctra. de Jesús Pobre
38º 47' 40" - E 0º 07' 02"
is a nice gentle stroll through the olive trees and
vineyards of La Vall, perfect for a pre-lunch stroll
on a Sunday afternoon or even afterwards to burn off
all those roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. The
circular route is mainly on rough track so good solid
footwear is recommended as well as water and a
camera to capture a few images of this wonderful unspoilt
area. Starting from the little chapel of Popúl, the
route travels anti-clockwise passing the ancient olive
tree and crossing the little stream of Hiedra before
returning to the chapel. At a little over five kilometres
on fairly level ground, it should take around two hours
to complete, allowing for stops along the way.
is plenty of parking alongside the little Ermita
del Popúl. The white-washed chapel which nestles
beneath the towering southern flank of the mountain
of Montgó dates from the 14th century but was
another victim of the recklessness of the Spanish Civil War during the
1930s. It was renovated
in the early 70s thanks to the efforts
of British ex-pats who began to settle
in the area and is still used by the
Costa Blanca Anglican Chaplaincy for Church of England Sunday
services as well as by the Catholic Church in September
when the Virgen del Popúl, whose feast day in on September
12th, is honoured with a special pilgrimage from
the old town for mass.
route heads away from the chapel on the busy Carretera
de Jesús Pobre, heading westwards with the huge
hulk of the mountain on our right. We pass La Ermiita
Supermercado, an oasis of necessity for those who
live on the remote urbanisations which sprawl across
the lower slopes of Montgó and then drop gently towards
a bridge over the deep Barranc dels Garroferets
and immediately after the crossing, we turn left into
Carrer L'Assagador de Les Valls and begin to
walk away from the busy main road. After barely 100
metres, the tarmac continues to the right into Calle
India whilst a rough track continues alongside the
gulley; we turn right, passing through small vineyards
and a few secluded villas. After 200 metres of so, the
tarmac ends and a beautiful vista opens up before us
as we continue along a wide track. Ahead of us we can
see the rooftops of Jesús Pobre and the three prominent towers
of the disused windmills. Further inland tower are the
huge mountains of the hinterland including the twin
peaks of the Caballo Verde and the serrated ridge of
the Sierra de Bernia.
track bends left and continue to the entrance to a private
dwelling. Ahead are two distinct paths; we take
the lower path to continue and after some 150 metres,
we reach the junction with the busy rough track of Camí
Vell de Pedreguer, no doubt the remnant of the original
route from Jávea to Pedreguer. The traffic noise will
have almost ceased with just the occasional whine of
a lorry to interrupt the delightful sounds of nature.
We turn right and follow the track across a low ditch
to the Olivera Milenaria (N 38º 47' 35"
| E 0º 06' 20") - "Olea Europaea".
leave the path and pass around a large carob tree to
find the old monument standing all alone. This
ancient olive tree of some 7 metres in height is considered to be somewhere between
800 and 1,000 years old and it still bears three types of olive. Some
sources even claim that it was planted in 1023
by Muslims who used to dwell in the valley.
Whatever its age, it is a solitary representative
of an era when the Moors dominated the area. Walking
around the tree, the spectacular large and twisted hollow
trunk is testament to its old age; it is unfortunate
that some less appreciative passers-by have chosen to
etch their names into the surface but this robust and
hardy tree survives and is still regularly
pruned for its fruit.
spending some time admiring this ancient tree of the
valley, we return to the path and continue in the same
direction on what is now a wide rough track. After
barely 100 metres, there is a lone carob tree at a crossroads
of paths and our route turns left, following a well-trodden
path which drops gently through well-tended olive groves
and then becomes quite secluded with trees on either
side until it apparently disappears into a dark hole.
This is our first crossing of the Barranc de la Hiedra;
it may get a little wet and muddy as we pass through
the dark tunnel of reeds, especially in the winter months.
Take a look at either side where someone has created
a natural fence to keep the way open.
path climbs away from the little gulley; take a look
behind to see a great image of this natural tunnel which
the mountain of Montgó behind. The wide path bends right
and then left and it passes through the vines before
reaching a T-junction with Assagador de Cabanes,
an old drovers road that ran between Jávea and Pedreguer
(it is officially called "Camí de Jesús Pobre
y Pedreguer a Xàbia" but the old name is much more
romantic). Our route turns left and we continue along
the rough track for a kilometre or so, passing by olive
groves and small estates with their barking guardians.
the next junction, we turn left again into Camí Assagador
de les Valls; there is a low post with red and white
stripes on the left side of the track. Heading north,
we can admire the steep cliffs of Montgó; as we get
closer, see if you can spot the "bell" that
appears to have been carved into the cliff-face. We
cross back over the Barranc de la Hiedra, less
obvious that before, and make our way along the rocky
track past a clump of trees that appears a little out
of place amongst the olive groves and vineyards.
path bends abruptly to the right and there is another
low marker post to assure us that we are on the right
path. We climb gently back out of the low valley for
some 400m until we come to a crossroads. We turn right
onto a narrow path that runs through the high grass
and then becomes a wider rough track; we are back on
Vell de Pedreguer and just before we return to tarmac,
there is a fairly new sign that tells us that we have
just traversed a very short section of the Xàbia
- Camino de Santiago branch which eventually joins
up with the famous pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela
and the remains of Saint James.
on the tarmac, we pass by homes to a crossroads and
turn left into Camí de les Valls which climbs
slowly back up to the busy Carretera
de Jesús Pobre and the little Ermita del Popúl.