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Travelling through Europe's southernmost beech forest

 

The Natural Park of the Northern Mountain Range of Guadalajara treasures countless natural spots of great beauty, corners that are crossed by a large number of hiking routes. One of these places of incalculable value is undoubtedly the Beech Forest of Tejera Negra, a spectacular forest that stands out, among many other things, for being the southernmost beech forest in Europe. There are several routes through this area, although perhaps the most beautiful of them all, or at least the most travelled, is the Path of Carretas, so called because it runs partly along the path used by the carts to transport the coal produced in the beech forest that we are going to visit.

 

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How to get to the Beech Forest of Tejera Negra

 

To get to the Beech Forest of the Tejera Negra we have to go to the town of Cantalojas, which is where the access track to the park's interpretation centre starts. To get to Cantalojas we can follow the road that links Sigüenza with Ayllón, taking the turn-off that leads to Galve de Sorbe, and shortly before arriving follow the signs that take us to Cantalojas and the Beech Forest of Tejera Negra. Of course, from the south there are several options for getting to Galve de Sorbe, crossing it and finding the turn-off to Cantalojas.

 

How to get to the Beech Forest of La Tejera Negra


 

Once in Cantalojas we only have to follow the signs that will take us to the park's interpretation centre where we will find the first car park and the access control post. Access to the Beech Forest of Tejera Negra is limited, or rather, access with our vehicle to the second car park can only be done low reservation and upon payment of the corresponding fee, which ranges from €2.5 for motorbikes to €12.15 for minibuses.

 

 

 

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Itinerary of the Path of Carretas

 

From the car park to the Robledal Path detour 4.8 km


 

The second parking place (0h 00min) in the beech forest, which you reach either by car if you have booked in advance or on foot from the first parking place following the Path of Robledal, is the starting and finishing point of the Path of Carretas. There are several hiking routes that run through this area, but we will follow the white waymarks that mark the Path of Carretas. The river Lillas will accompany us on this first part of the route, as its course goes up this part of the usually dry riverbed. After a while we will come across a stream, which we will cross thanks to a wooden bridge. As soon as we cross it, we change direction, saying goodbye to the Lillas river and starting to go up the ravine formed by the stream. The pine trees that had accompanied us up to this point give way to a beautiful oak grove where you can already see the odd beech tree.

 

Beech trees, which gradually take over the landscape as we go up the Carretas stream.

 

A stream leads us to an old coal mine, which gives us a better understanding of the industry that took place here. The most demanding section of the Path of Carretas awaits us, which takes us up a steep ascent to Meadow of Matarredonda. Once there, the forest allows us to enjoy the landscape that surrounds the beech forest that we have just crossed. After walking a few metres along the shoulder of the hillside of the mountain we have just climbed to the viewpoint that allows us to contemplate the valley formed by the river Lillas, we retrace our steps to resume the route. We leave behind us the path we ascended to go back into the thick beech forest. A beautiful stretch full of informative signs explaining the peculiarities of the Beech Forest of the Tejera Negra Natural Park. But beech trees are not the only protagonists of this hiking route; among other surprises, a spectacular yew tree awaits us, which we reach after fording a couple of streams. Shortly after this forest lord you come to the fork that marks the junction with the Path of Robledal (2h 10min).

From the Path of Robledal turnoff to the car park 1.6 km


 

Here we have the not bad option of following the route of the Path of Robledal for approximately 1 km until we reach the pass of Hornillo, from where we can enjoy a magnificent view over the area. If we do so, we have to retrace our steps to return to the route of the Path of Carreteras, which from the turn-off begins the fast descent that will take us back to the parking place (2h 30min) from where we started. But not before visiting some traditional beehives while following the markings of the different routes that coincide on this stretch.

 

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Tips for doing the Path of Carretas

1-Depending on where you start from to get to Cantalojas, some GPS can take you over the Port of La Quesera. This option is not very recommendable given the state of the road.

2-This route can be perfectly combined with the Path of El Robledal, if you are forced to start at the first car park, although the total distance can reach almost 22 km depending on the route you follow.

3-The route itself has no major complications, although the positive difference in altitude is almost entirely in the stretch before the Matarredonda meadow.

4-Take it easy and don't forget to bring enough food and water and to equip yourself properly for the route.

 

 

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Waypoints of the route


1-Parking 0h 00min 1400 m 0 km 30T 470740 4565003
2-Robledal Path detour 2h 10min 1600 m 4,8 Km 30T 469242 4564736

CoordinatesUTM Datúm WGS84

 

Slope acumulate. 548 m  Slope positive. 274 m  Slope negative. 274 m

 

Maximum altitude. 1620 m   Minimum altitude. 1400 m

 

Profile of the Path of Carretas

Profile of the Path of Carretas

 

Cartography

Topographical map of Path of Carretas

ico IGN

 

This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional  "Cuadrante 432-3 y 432-4 1:25.000".

 

 

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The Beech Forest of Tejera Negra was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2017 along with other beech forests in Spain and Europe.

 

Don't miss out...

 

A visit to the nearby castle of Galve de Sorbe or Zúñiga, whose origins date back to the Andalusian period, although the present castle dates back to the 15th century.

 

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Route information updated on 22-11-2020. 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.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.

 

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