Between Alcoy, in the province of Alicante, and Gandía in the province of Valencia, a railway line was built in 1892 to transport precious raw materials and develop the industrial fabric of the area. This railway, known by the name of the English, was active until 1969, when it fell into disuse. Nowadays, its approximately 54 km of route have been partly adapted for the use and enjoyment of walkers and cyclists. Specifically, the Serpis River Greenway includes the steep section that separates the towns of Lorcha in Alicante and Villalonga in Valencia, with a route of just over 13 km, without taking into account the return journey.
As it is a linear route between two municipalities, we have the possibility of starting the route wherever it suits us best. In addition, in the case of Villalonga-Vilallonga there are several starting points that shorten the total route. It is true that in general the usual starting point for this greenway is the old Lorcha-L'Orxa station.
To get to Villalonga we can do it from Gandía itself or even from Lorcha itself. Once there, there is no specific parking area for the route, in fact we can drive up the course of the river Serpis following the road that leads to some old quarries and once there park and start the route. Alternatively, on the opposite side of the river, you can drive your vehicle to almost the end of the asphalted track and from there link up with the greenway route, although this option does not provide as many parking facilities for your vehicle.
As we have already mentioned, it is more common, for various reasons, to start the route from the town of Lorcha in Alicante. To get there we can do it from Villalonga or also from Alcoy, more specifically from Muro de Alcoy, passing through Beniarrés and its Encantado ravine. It is on this road, just before reaching Lorcha and crossing the river Serpis, where the turn-off awaits us that takes us to the old Lorcha train station, just at the foot of the ruins of the castle of Perputxent. There is a large parking area where we can start the route without any complications.
The remains of the old Lorcha station (0h 00min) mark the starting point of this route along the Serpis river greenway. We leave behind the route that comes from Alcoy to head towards the banks of the river Serpis, under the watchful eye of the impregnable castle of Perputxent. In this first part of the route the route runs along the left bank of the river.
This part of the Infern ravine, not to be confused with the Laguar ravine, becomes more spectacular with every step we take. Here you will come across beautiful spots such as the Assut del Forn or de l'Infern, an old dam that still survives the river's ravages. After a while we leave the greenway for a moment to cross the riverbed and approach the old factory of l'Infern (1h 15min).
After visiting this old mill, which was converted into a power station in 1895, we continue our route along the right bank of the river, as the old railway line crossed this side of the river over a bridge that has now collapsed. The different informative signs enliven the route as they explain the history of the different places we visit. The La Garrofera halt or the Caseta Moru are some of them, without forgetting the different tunnels that we will pass through on our way. A beautiful route that takes us to the Racó del Duc factory (1h 45min), although this construction is far from the official route and cannot be visited.
After contemplating from afar the buildings that, according to the signposting on the site, correspond to the old factory, we continue along the route. The different tunnels alternate, some of them quite impressive, and you will even have the opportunity to avoid going through the longest tunnel, as you can follow a path that avoids it. This path also allows us to see the ruins of the Factory of La Mare de Deu a little closer.
Further on, when you reach the area around the Factory of Centim, the path forks. On one side we can go up the cemented path that takes us to some old quarries, one of the starting points of the greenway of the river Serpis from Villalonga. From there, follow the road that leads to the town. Alternatively, continue along the railway line that takes you quickly to the waterfall known as Assut de l'Esclapissada (2h 15min).
It is at this point that many people end the route and return to Lorcha, but not before coming to the ruined railway bridge that used to cross the river. There are also those who continue towards Villalonga, either along the left side of the river, crossing the narrow footbridge that crosses it and following the dirt track that leads to Villalonga (3h 00min), or along the other route that passes through the quarry, which we can take from the vicinity of the demolished bridge and which is somewhat longer than the other one. This option avoids crossing the footbridge, which for many people can be difficult due to its narrowness, height and the apparent fragility of the netting that acts as a handrail.
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Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 795-4 1:25.000".
¿Did you know that...
Alcoi was of great industrial importance at the end of the 19th century, which is why this railway was built to connect it with the port of Gandía. The company in charge of its construction was the Alcoy and Gandía Railway and Harbour Company Limited, with part English capital, which is why it was known as the English train.
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The visit to the castle of Perputxent, of Muslim origin, dates back to the end of the 12th century. The wall on the east and south slopes of the castle, a cistern and three towers, among others, are still preserved. From the top of the castle, the Perputxent valley and part of the river Serpis can be seen.
From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.
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Route information updated on 19-11-2020. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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