Sub District of Estacion de Benaojan
his lively community has been no stranger to through traffic. Initially the valley was the route of the Roman road and later the medieval track. It was the obvious route for the railway, which was opened soon after 1892. In addition, a fast flowing stream passes through the community, on its way to the Guadiaro River. To take advantage of this free power a number of mills were built, one of which today is a popular hotel. Known after its original name of Molino del Santo, it was built as an olive oil and flour mill driven by a fast-flowing stream, which draws its water from an impressive spring, some 100m behind the mill. The mill closed in the mid-1950s but was converted to a family home. In 1987 a British couple seeking solitude bought the property and turned it into a well-respected watering hole. Today, the hotel of 17 double rooms is well respected and has a fine organic restaurant with gardens under willows by the millrace.
The concrete track that leads up behind the old mill heads on towards the waterfalls and spring. The old pueblo can be seen at the head of the old mule track, which takes a one-kilometre climb. The rush of water from the spring is impressive, as thousands of litres poor out of the ground every minute to fill a dammed pool. In the past, aqueducts carried the water to the various mills and a sign explains the sources of the river and what use was made of it during the pre-industrial era.
In the village, the Railway Station is still as constructed in the late 19th century. A walk around the station yard gives the impression that, before the motor car, this was an important part of the pueblo's way of life. Here you will notice a large number of hikers heading off in various directions. The walks are signposted and one of the major destinations is the caves found along the railway line. The station itself is one of the prettiest on the Granada-Algeciras line, with a very civilised small bar on the platform and views of primeval forested hills. The rail journey from Benaojan south to Jimena de la Frontera (where the landscape flattens toward Algeciras) is rated one of the most picturesque rides in Europe. A description of the routes and the interesting history can be read in 'Mr Henderson's railway'.
The most impressive low-level walk in the area is following the Guadiaro valley down to Jimera de Libar. The old Via Canada can be easily followed for the two hour walk to the next station and most people time the walk around the times of the trains so that they can get a ride back. To find the start, cross over the railway line just south of the station and through a small built up area until you reach the river. A footbridge takes you over the river and a sign to the right (which suggests it will take three hours) sends you off in the right direction. Note the old mill just as you start to climb up to the old pig farm and its cobbled lane. In another few years, this mill will probably disappear due to the lack of preservation and the effect of erosion. The walk from Benaoján to Jimena de Libar is described in "The Walk of Mr. Henderson´s Railway"