PR-CV 311 Novelda The La Mola’s Castle
- 1. From the Plaza de la Magdalena, we start walking along the Paseo de los Molinos, coinciding with the road that leads to the Castillo de la Mola. After 1 km of walking, and after passing two houses of unique architecture, we leave the asphalt and follow a path on the right that crosses the Vinalopó river and leads us to the first buildings of the hamlet of La Teulera, (250 m) (1.65 km) (20′).
- 2. In La Teulera (250 m) (1,65 km) (20′), we turn left (northwest) to continue parallel to the river, along its left bank, giving views in front of us to a beautiful perspective of the hill and the castle of La Mola. A few minutes later, at the Barranquet dels Baladres ravine, we can see an interesting and rustic masonry bridge to our right, with three irregular and rough eyes. One is the original one, for which the aqueduct was built; the second, parallel, was built many years later.
As we continue our walk, we can see that this riverside area has its own environmental characteristics, and halophilic species such as Sarcocornia and Salicornia develop, as well as others that tolerate the saline environment, especially abundant Tamarix and Limonium among others… Among the varied bird life, the presence of stilts, herons and seagulls is frequent, as they look for food in the marshes.
In this way we join the path coming from La Teulera through the Alcaidies area, at the height of an aqueduct that crosses the wide river bed. This is the Rec de Ledua aqueduct, an ancient construction that was built in its day to increase the irrigated land on the left bank of the river. Originally, the aqueduct was built with wooden pillars and planks, but the successive floods and floods of the wadi, as well as the fragility of the materials used, led to the construction of the current solid work at the end of the 19th century, which consisted of twenty stone pillars that support the irrigation channel.
In front of an immediate fork, we turn left (west) and cross the Vinalopó to reach the tarmac road that descends from the castle.
Continuing the walk, we have to follow the road, briefly, until we reach the watering hole of the Cequia Mayor, where we leave the asphalt and turn left and take the primitive path that connected the river (an important communication route) with the Castle, going up the eastern side of the small mound until we reach the Sanctuary of Santa Mª Magdalena and the Castle of La Mola (350 m) (4.23 km) (55′).
- 3. On arriving at the Sanctuary of Santa Mª Magdalena and the Castle of La Mola (350 m) (4.23 km) (55′) and after visiting the outbuildings of the entire enclosure, we descend to the car park esplanade, next to the Fountain of the Three Friends. We cross the entire esplanade and when the road starts to descend, we head left towards an abandoned stone quarry and, once we have passed it, at the very base of the sierra, we take a path along which, winding in successive loops, we rise up to the wide Puntal de Bartolo, located to the north of the summit.
From there, turn southeast and walk along the easternmost ridge, immediately next to the castle, until you reach an excellent viewpoint from where you can contemplate the entire historic-artistic complex of La Mola Castle and the Sanctuary (490 m) (5.42 km) (1 h 20 min).
- 4. Once we reach the viewpoint, (490 m) (5.42 km) (1 h 20 min), continuing along the centre of the hill we reach, without difficulty, the top of La Mola, from where we can enjoy a vast and impressive panorama, especially of the strong valley of the Mitjá Vinalopó (541 m) (5.68 km) (1 h 30 min).
- 5. After reaching the top of La Mola, (541 m) (5,68 km) (1 h 30 min), we descend along the path of the abandoned stone quarries along the mountain range to the west and south. After a steep descent, we reach an asphalt road that we follow to the left (east) and skirt the southern base of La Mola, until we reach the Casa Lino, next to the road from Novelda to the Castle, (275 m) (8.38 km) (2 h 15 min).
- 6. After passing Casa Lino, (275 m) (8.38 km) (2 h 15 min), along the road and overlooking the Sanctuary, we reach the junction of the ascent to the Castle and the start of the Camino Viejo, (275 m) (8.67 km) (2 h 20 min).
- 7. Now we have to continue along the Camino Viejo, (275 m) (8.32 km) (2 h 20 min), along which we climb again to the Sanctuary of Santa María Magdalena and the Castle of La Mola, (350 m) (8.90 km) (2 h 35 min).
From this unique and historic site, we return along the same route as at the beginning to our starting point, and finish this interesting and varied route in Novelda, (247 m) (13.13 km) (3 h 20 min).