R1. Upper and Middle Vinalopó
River Vinalopó in the Font de la Coveta.
River Vinalopó in Novelda.
Font de la Coveta
Autumn in Font de la Coveta.
Building that distributes water between Bocairent, Banyeres de Mariola and Biar.
Azud del Vinalopó
Wall dam of masonry owned by the Irrigation Community of the Valley of Benejama.
El Salero Viejo
El Salero Viejo (Old Salt Mine) is a set of mining facilities intended for the exploitation of salt.
The great amount of salts dissolved in the waters of this spring gives them an extended fame of curative properties.
Ullales del Vinalopó
Upwelling of groundwaters of a wide extension in the surroundings of this area.
Ruta 1: Upper and Middle Vinalopó
The traveler accompanies the wandering and suffering spirit of the longest river in the province, the River Vinalopó River.
On this tour we will enjoy beautiful riverside forests around the Font de la Coveta, the source of the river Vinalopó; we will observe extensive grape, vegetable and fruit crops of the vast Valley of Benejama and Villena; we will contemplate reflections of sunsets and sunrises in the multicolored lagoons of the Saleros de Villena; we will admire the arid and clayey environments that surround the upwellings in the channel of the Vinalopó at Novelda and we will surround ourselves with many other sensations that will seduce us all the way.
It is a route of 78 kilometers that suggests stops in seven enclaves of special interest and three small excursions of small routes for walking or cycling.
The water in this routeThe river Vinalopó, water axis of this route, crosses from north to south the province of Alicante and, with its 92 kilometers, is one of the most important in the region. It is born in the Mariola mountain range, between Bocairent and Banyeres de Mariola, and gives its name to the regions that crosses (Upper, Middle and Lower Vinalopó) until reaching its natural mouth at the Salinas (Salt Mines) of Santa Pola.
It has two tributaries: the Marchal and the Tarafa. In addition, it also receives the contributions of numerous ramblas, such as Pusa, Melva, Sapo or Bateig. It also receives saline and regenerated waters from the Acequia del Rey.
2. Fuente del Sapo
Small spring, always full of visitors willing to take a few liters of water, because it is supposed to have healing properties.
The small spring is related to the hill, made of Cretaceous materials, located in the southeastern edge of the urban helmet of Banyeres de Mariola.
3. Azud del Vinalopó
Wall dam of masonry owned by the Irrigation Community of the Valley of Benejama, that diverts water ofthe river Vinalopó to irrigate the valley.
4. Minado de Candela
Mines or galleries are a centuries-old way of exploiting groundwater. Excavated in dry seasons, they serve to make a better use of the natural springs. The mine of Candela starts in El Salse and is about three kilometers long.
5. Saleros de Villena and Puente Los Cristales
5.1. Salero Viejo
The Salero Viejo (Old Salt Mine) is a set of mining facilities, made up of warehouses, heating and evaporation ponds, dryers, pumping wells, gutters and pipelines to exploit salt. The materials that appear are gypsum and clays with a high content of salts, which together with the sparse vegetation, typical of brackish areas, gives to the place a particular atmosphere.
5.2. Puente Los Cristales (Brige of the Crystals)
A bridge, thirty meters long and six meters wide, named after the gypsum crystals that surround it, that was built to skip the Acequia del Rey.
6. Font Salada
The Font Salada (Salty Spring) has a great amount of salts dissolved in its waters, what gives them an extended fame of curative properties. It is, together with the spring of Salinetes, the main discharge of the aquifer of the Cid. The upwelling happens between Triassic clays and gypsum, lands of variegated red, ocher and green colors.
7. Ullales del Vinalopó
The ullales are upwellings of groundwater that may surprise us in unexpected places. In its underground journey, water dissolves the salts of these formations, greatly increasing its saline concentration.
In the photograph, the Ullal Azul (Blue Pond), with low oxidizing conditions that gives a characteristic odor of sulfhydric.
E1. Mas d’Ull de Canals – Font de la Coveta
The route runs parallel to the upper part of the Vinalopó River, during the walk you can enjoy the indigenous dense vegetation of riverside and its associated fauna. Throughout this first excursion you can visit various springs and unique enclaves like the Toll Blau, with cascades of great beauty.
E2. Fuente del Sapo – Molí L’Ombría
This excursion shows part of the heritage of the first paper industries that existed and gave occupation to a large part of the population of Banyeres de Mariola between the 18th and 20th centuries.
E3. Font Salada – Ullales del Vinalopó
Throughout this excursion you can visit places like La Alberca de los Canteros (stonecutter’s pool), built by them for their use and enjoyment, and the Ullal Rojo (Red Pond), whose coloration is due to the presence of precipitates of iron oxides.
There is no possibility of loss on this excursion, as the “red” channel guides into the Barranco Les Salinetes.