A Short but Challenging walk above Vera de Erques, Guia de Isora

View to Mt Tejina from the path above Vera de Erques

View to Mt Tejina from the path above Vera de Erques

This walk is challenging because of the steep climb of about 630m which starts the walk.  After that you can relax more and enjoy the views.

I walked this route on 16th March and we were very lucky with the weather.  There was a layer of cloud below us a lot of the time, threatening to come up and envelop us, but it never did.  We remained in sunshine the majority of the walk, and were able to see most of the views.  It was the first time since last summer’s fire that I had walked up there, and we certainly saw the damage the fire had caused, but the recent rains and the riot of spring annual flowers, softened the starkness of the burnt landscape.

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Tree sow thistle – Sonchus canariensis

We started the walk from near the school in Vera de Erques which is by a turning circle at the end of the excellent road up to the village.  There are several parking places around there.  As you stand facing the school look for a small tarmac road going up to the right of the school.  Near the bottom of the road is a signboard describing the path we took, the map showing that the path continues up to Las Cañadas after we left it at Pajar de la Corona.

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Cliff celery – Tinguarra cervariaefolia – beside the path and Roque de Ucanca in the distance

The tarmac road is very steep and gives a good stretch to the leg muscles for the start of the walk.  After passing beyond the village the tarmac comes to an end and a path continues up past a finca with a chain-link fence on the left.  Soon the path is in the open above the village, with the occasional pine tree or almond tree or large shrub of Tagasaste or Escobón providing shade.  Otherwise the scrub is low, mainly of Narrow-leaved cistus (Cistus monspeliensis) with its small white flowers.

Occasionally there was a shrub-sized Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis), in full flower.

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Approaching the old abandoned farmhouse called Pajar de la Corona. The pink flowers in the foreground are Mallow-leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides)

As we got higher we began to see the areas affected by the fire, with the burnt out shrubs above as blackened sticks, but with ground herbs and Asphodels (Asphodelus aestivus) growing under them. The Asphodels are bulbs which would be below ground when the fire struck and have now grown up with nothing to shade them, so making an excellent show in many areas.

As we got higher we began to see the areas affected by the fire, with the burnt out shrubs above as blackened sticks, but with ground herbs and Asphodels (Asphodelus aestivus) growing under them. The Asphodels are bulbs which would be below ground when the fire struck and have now grown up with nothing to shade them, so making an excellent show in many areas.

The old bread oven near the old farmhouse Pajar de la Corona.

The old bread oven near the old farmhouse Pajar de la Corona.

Finally an old house appeared on the horizon, and gradually got nearer, this was to be the highest point of our walk, called the Pajar de la Corona or Casa del Pino Redondo.  This is an old farmhouse, the centre of a small community earning their living in the past from grazing a herd of goats, milking and processing the milk into cheese.  As we approached the farm the ground was covered with the pink flowers of Mallow-leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), a widespread Mediterranean wild flower.  We had a look at the old buildings and the separate bread oven serving it, before arriving at the cross-roads of paths above it where we took the left turn, descending into the Barranco Cuéscara.  Here the path was obscured by lots of grass, field marigolds (Calendula arvensis) and other annual herbs together with fallen burnt trees and shrubs, so it was hard to pick it out.  However, concentrating on looking for the lines of stones which bordered the path, we found our way across, and then down the ridge we reached.

Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum)

Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum)

Coming out of the barranco a sprinkle of red flowers caught my attention, they were Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum). The burnt area had small areas where the flames had missed, which housed some older plants and shrubs that added interest and colour to the landscape.  These included more Tree sow-thistles, some Bitter spurges (Euphorbia lamarckii) and some Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens).  Everywhere the ground was covered with fresh grasses, field marigolds, Charlock (Sinapis arvensis) and other herbs.

Gradually the path descended towards the near-deserted village of Las Fuentes to the east of Mt Tejina.  After descending the one ridge for some distance the path turned sharply to the right to cross the Barranco de las Carreras.  Here I looked up to the right to see the old goat farm, which was still operative before the fire but now appears to be deserted.  Presumably the lack of grazing after the fire put an end to this rural business, which is sad as I always enjoyed seeing the goats grazing the area.

Tenerife viper's bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

We arrived in the village of Las Fuentes at the top and walked down the village street on the ridge, down through the open area in the village, past the fountain on the left and continuing towards Mt Tejina till nearly at the last house, opposite which we went down a track to the left.  After passing a few fields, on a bend in the track a path went down to the right, which we took.  About 350m further on the path comes close to the track going up to Las Fuentes, but just before reaching the track we turned left up a small slope onto another path, which we would follow all the way back to Vera de Erques.

View down to Acojeja and the coast from above Las Fuentes

View down to Acojeja and the coast from above Las Fuentes

Looking from Las Fuentes, Vera de Erques did not look far away, but the path had some hidden secrets, the first being the second crossing of the Barranco Cuéscara, involving a steep descent and equally steep ascent before levelling off again. Then, descending a rocky ridge, another old farmhouse appeared to the right of the path.  Opposite the entrance to the farm is an old cistern (covered), and three old washing places (lavanderos).  From this spot there is a small path down behind the cistern where you can get to an old cave housing the oldest winepress in the area.  However the entrance is almost blocked by a large Escobón shrub so it is difficult to see (even if you know where it is!)

Casa Montiel is to the right of the path - another old farm settlement

Casa Montiel is to the right of the path – another old farm settlement

We continued along the path which passes an old tile kiln and an old well with watering trough for animals.  The latter is normally dry, but after the recent rains it contained some water this time.  Then the path crossed one final barranco – Bicacaro – before arriving on the main road to Vera de Erques on a bend.  We turned left to return to our start point just 350m away.

The whole walk took us 4hrs 37mins and was 9.8 km / 6.13ml.  Total accumulated ascent and descent was 670m.  The track can be viewed and downloaded as GPX trail at:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=4154935

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About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on March 24, 2013, in Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. David Dewhurst

    Hi Sally,
    Just looking at your latest walk , it looks really interesting, maybe the little path down to the cave could be cleared by some of our group in the future. regards dave.

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