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Visiting the towns of Santiago de la Espada and Pontones

Santiago de la Espada.

Until 1691, Santiago was a hamlet of Segura de la Sierra known as El Hornillo (the Little Oven) because the founders gathered around an oven where they baked bread. The town has a special atmosphere and a friendly deposition towards visitors owing to its isolation in a remote area of Jaén province. The climate there is more similar to the plains of Castile than Andalusia and it often snows in winter. Orchards and vegetable gardens surround the town, as well as sizeable walnut trees that can be spotted from several viewpoints.


The town is divided into two sections: Pontón Alto, in the upper part of town, and Pontón Bajo, in the lower. The bridges over the Segura river that link the two parts are responsible for the name of the town, for pontón means bridge. The town’s singular layout affords a pleasant walk. If you start at Pontón Bajo and head for Pontón Alto, you come to a curious natural hole in a vertical rock face, known as the Piedra Horadada.

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This remote village is surrounded by walnut trees, pines and luxuriant orchards and is a veritable spring in its own right: it is home to the sources of at least four bodies of water, meaning that you will be accompanied by the almost-constant burble of fountains, springs and irrigation channels as you pass through the village. The streets of Miller contain fine examples of bread ovens, olive mills and public washing areas, important examples of an ethnological heritage that has enabled many generations to survive in this harsh yet beautiful landscape.


Segura Valley

In the village of Huelga Utrera, the River Segura incorporates its first tributary, the River Madera. From this point onwards the Segura, now a gushing river, advances through its valley passing under a series of bridges - including a Roman bridge - and through villages which grew up around its banks and only survived as a result of their proximity to this watercourse. The road runs parallel to the river, flanked on either side by tall limestone rock faces, affording magnificent views of the mountains. As it passes through the village of La Toba, the river’s waters form the charming Anchuricas reservoir.


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