Pujerra to Juzcar track

Pujerra to Juzcar track

The easiest access to the hidden Rio Genal is a track linking Pujerra to Juzcar, crossing the river at Molino del Puente. (GPS 36* 37' 10"N 5* 9' 14"W Google maps) It's a beautiful and well-watered spot with plenty of (controlled) trout fishing, although the ruins are all that can be seen of a former village, which was important enough to be the centre of a large rural parish. Look out for Cortijo las Salas at km3 on the Igualeja to Pujerra road, as this is near the unmarked junction (GPS 36* 37' 00"N 5* 8' 26"W Google maps) for the track the start of the steep descent to the river. The track is generally kept in good condition and can be navigated by a saloon car without problem.

The river crossing is now a recreational area in the summer. The first legend linked to this spot dates from the 7th century, with the Visigothic King Wamba.

This harsh environment of the present Pujerra village site only seems to have been a place of refuge. In the early days of the Moorish occupation, they would have only been interested in exploiting the more accessible and fertile lands near the river, before the arrival of the Berber colonists.

The 1560 local inquisition does not record any candidates and by 1570 it seems that although this was the seat of a parish, the village by the river vanished from the map. What is left is a few traces offering a clue to the past. The name neatly translates as Molino de Capilla, the mill of the chapel. A site visit will immediately show that a substantial pack horse bridge once crossed the river here, with a small building on it. Common in the medieval period, this may have been a small shrine. Next to the bridge stands the ruins of the mill, nowadays badly eroded on one side by the course of the river. Other remains of the former village can be found further upstream though the site of the medieval settlement and its church has now gone.

The old ford (now raised so that it is only a ford after heavy rain) over the present-day river makes a pleasant stop when exploring this area. What now seems to be a deserted place was once full of activity and it is hard to imagine how important this river crossing was in its heyday.

The track climbs up the other side of the valley through both oak and chestnut trees. It is used by many local vehicles saving 15km from the tarmac route. It can be traversed in a car and joins the MA518 in Juzcar at an unmarked junction. (GPS 36* 37' 24"N 5* 10' 10"W Google maps)