It is a town located south of the province of Avila, at the head of the river Tormes, in the region of El Barco de Avila and Piedrahita, being the gateway to the Central Massif of Gredos and the Regional Park and National Hunting Reserve of the Sierra de Gredos. The origin of Hoyos del Espino, like that of all the villages in the area, is doubtful. It is possible that the Celts were here as shepherds, although they probably took advantage of the spring and summer pastures. The Romans also camped through the area as there are still remains of roads, such as the Puerto del Pico and Roman bridges. From the Arabs it is known that after crossing the mountain range they reached Ávila and devastated it in the year 712. The area was one of the frontiers that existed between the Christian kingdoms and the Arab world, the Almanzor peak reminds us of this.
It was at the end of the 13th century that the northern Christian kingdoms began to settle and populate this territory. Hoyos del Espino appears in documents at the end of the fourteenth century, when, according to them, it was integrated into the land of the village of Piedrahita, forming part, therefore, of the lordship of Valdecorneja, being linked until the nineteenth century to the House of Alba. Its main economic activity was the transport of wood, of which there are still traces in the village. Together with other neighbouring villages, it formed the association of Carreteros of the Sierra de Piedrahita which, integrated in the Mesta Real de Carreteros del Reino, operated throughout the Modern Age. In the 20th century, Hoyos del Espino became the main gateway to Gredos via the Plataforma, passing the Duke's Bridge, which was built in 1925. The royal hunts of Alfonso XIII promoted the construction of shelters and roads as the royal trail or the refuge of the king in Prado Puerto. The Spanish Alpine Club, in the year 1910 builds the refuge of Gredos in the Prado de las Pozas.
In Hoyos del Espino the visitor finds activities and enjoyment in the middle of nature, hiking routes, mountaineering, large meadows, natural bathing areas..., all within the Regional Park of the Sierra de Gredos. After, or before, giving a good account of its rich and traditional gastronomy, a visit to the village will take us to the chapel of the Sacred Heart or to discover the Clock of the School, building that today houses the rural post office. It was built in the 1920s and continues to mark the time in the town. Every hour on the dot, and also five minutes before, a bell rings for every hour; the same as at half past the hour, with a single bell, however, repeated five minutes before.
On the outskirts of the village, in the direction of El Barco, a Gothic-style transept decorated with a series of typical balls from the 15th century, which is reputed to be one of the best preserved in the Sierra de Gredos region, marks the turn-off to the Marian Sanctuary of the Church of Nuestra Señora del Espino, a Gothic church from the end of the 15th century whose central altarpiece is in the Herrerian style and was built between 1653 and 1763. Its bell tower is very low and is separate from the church and it is thought that it may have been part of an earlier construction. The entrance to the village coming from the Venta de Rasquilla is flanked by the monument to the mountain goat that also marks the beginning of the road to the Plataforma de Gredos, and next to it is a tourist information point. On this road you will find a beautiful spot known as Duke's Bridge. The Duke's Bridge helps to save the river Tormes and starts the Regional Park of the Sierra de Gredos. Hoyos del Espino completes its great attraction with the festival Musicians in Nature that takes place every year in July.
Hoyos del Espino celebrates its patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Espino, on September 8. On May 14th the celebration is for the Venerable Maria Jesus del Espino.
The flag and the coat of arms of Hoyos del Espino seem to be a faithful reflection of their tradition, since in both of them there is a pine tree and a mountain range, as a sign of the logging activity of the place, which is abundant in pines. The old tradition of the municipality's road, as a wood transporter, is recalled by three wheels, in addition to the shield appear two blue waves representing the many rivers and streams of the municipality.
On one side of the Plataforma road is the so-called Pino del Rey (King's Pine). It is a large specimen of the Pinus sylvestris family that owes its name to the fact that King Alfonso XII, in his incursions and raids through the Sierra de Gredos, used to camp here using one of the pine branches as a support for the tent. This branch, at a low height and totally horizontal, can still be seen on the tree.
Legend has it that in the second half of the twelfth century a shepherdess found an image of the Virgin among a thorn tree. When she was warned, the villagers lowered it with great devotion to the village but the image disappeared from the place where it had been placed and appeared again in the thorn tree where it was first found. This took place several times until they decided to build a hermitage in the place where she had appeared and to honour the Virgin there. Furthermore, the same legend says that the thorn tree in question distilled oil from its roots to feed the lamp that illuminated the Lady day and night.
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Hoyos del Espino can be reached by the AV-941 road, this being the only access route to the town, through which it is connected on one side to Venta de Rasquilla and here to the N-502 road linking Ávila with Talavera de la Reina and on the other to El Barco de Ávila on the N-110 road between Ávila and Plasencia.
Hoyos del Espino has a bus service stop that covers the route from the South Bus Station in Madrid to Barco de Ávila daily and at different times. The bus stop is located on the Barco S/N road and the telephone number, of the company that provides the service, for further information is 915 393 132.
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