Dreaming in green

By Club Elbruz de naturaleza y montañismo 

Top Tip

Hiking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, mountain biking… This club’s community enjoys nature and knows the best places to practice your favorite outdoor sport away from the hustle and bustle of Seville.

Cerro Del Hierro Hiking Trail

The Cerro del Hierro hiking trail is an easy, circular route, spanning 1.8 km total. It consists of a dirt road that begins at Casa de los Ingleses in San Nicolás del Puerto. Starting from the old housing complex for the mine’s British engineers (hence its name), the path with its simple yet beautiful landscape takes you past industrial relics, unique plants, animals and rock formations. Since time immemorial, rains and then mining sculpted Cerro del Hierro, turning it into a true jewel in the Sierra Norte mountain range. Walking silently along the narrow pinnacled galleries is even more rewarding. This officially declared Natural Monument comprises a wild and beautiful profile full of spires, pinnacles, canyons, slopes, hollows and an infinite variety of karstic shapes, together with unchecked vegetation invading everything.

The path is a safe way to see Cerro del Hierro up close and discover its hidden secrets. For example, in some of the wettest areas, you’ll find the typical laurestine shrub (or “durillo” in Spanish), alongside oleanders and fig trees taking advantage of the shade. Fauna include birds such as thrushes and swallows as well as the elusive black storks.

There are also numerous and free areas to climb, and the level of difficulty varies significantly, requiring you be accompanied by qualified climbing professionals to avoid accidents. It is extremely important you comply with all the warning signs to the letter given that the path is in poor shape and can be dangerous if you wander off.

Bike Tour Route – Vía verde Sierra Norte de Sevilla 

Most of this “green” route takes you along the old road joining the Zafra-Seville railway line and the mines in Cerro del Hierro. The first 4-kilometer stretch is an old drover for cattle in the heart of the Sierra Norte Natural Park, known today as Seville’s Sierra Moreno range. These drovers were used traditionally to take cattle to pastures and connect different towns. This is also where you’ll find the Huesna River which will accompany you on most of this route. You soon come to the Descansadero de la Rivera del Huesna, a place where the path widens, allowing the animals to rest (hence the name in Spanish, “descansar”) or spend the night. The view here is dominated by numerous small rustic country homes with their traditional stone walls.

The route along the old railway line begins at the Los Prados fork. The line began to serve as a means to transport goods in 1895. With the Industrial Revolution well underway, the steam locomotive changed business thanks to the ease and speed with which it could deliver merchandise. The metal extracted from this mine was taking in long trains to Seville’s port and then by ship to Glasgow and the furnaces of the Scottish company which began mining operations here. The railway line had to overcome numerous topographical features such as creek beds and slopes. Worth noting along this beautiful route are the plants growing alongside the riverbed depending on the water available.

After this refreshing oasis, the landscape becomes steeper, offering some incredible views of the valley behind. These abrupt changes have also formed numerous waterfalls, such as the nearby Cascadas del Huesna, declared a Natural Monument. It was used originally to produce electricity, and we can see the old power house from the route. To bypass the topography, a single 105-meter tunnel was built for the trains. If you look up, you can still see the soot stains from the trains. Also worth noting are the number of buildings associated to the old train line: stations, housing, warehouses, depots, etc., a testimony to the area’s past. After changing hands between various European and Spanish firms, the railway line fell into disuse in 1970 when the mine was no longer profitable.

The gentle sloping hills indicate that you’re coming to San Nicolás del Puerto, a small town originally founded by Celt tribes and with a Roman bridge that merits a stop. After passing by the Arroyo del Pozuelo brook and vast meadows, you come to Poblado Minero del Cerro del Hierro. This is where the miners’ families lived, clearly separated from the Casas Inglesas, the homes for the British engineers. These homes represent the end of the Vía Verde de la Sierra Norte route.

Travesía de Resistencia Arsenio del Club Elbruz

The “Arsenio Resistance Route” was originally created to be included as part of Andalusia’s Resistance Route Cup, though it never entered into this category for different reasons. Since then, Club Elbruz holds annual competitions to put participants’ mental and physical stamina to the test. This highly intense route is among some of the most challenging summer activities or even those organized at other times of the year such as the Sierra Nevada “tresmiles” (climbing 3,000-meter-tall peaks), exploration routes and climbing other 4,000-meter-tall mountains. The Arsenio Resistance Route is 50 km long (representing 13 hours of activity total), taking you as follows: from Cerro del Hierro-Cerro Negrillo-Constantina -Los Castañares-Campovid- Rivera del Huéznar-Las Laderas-Cazalla -Camino Viejo-Rivera del Huéznar-Las Berracas-Cerro del Hierro.

It is strongly advised that members of Club Elbruz accompany you due to the route’s extreme difficulty. Participants have to be able to withstand being potentially on their own and carry their own first-aid kit. The route is typically held in May.