Mountain Journeys

The mountains of Costa Blanca.  Walk of the week  -  El Cavall Verd

Walk no. 2 - El Cavall Verd

Distance – 12k.  Ascent – 400m.  Time – 3 to 4 hours

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Eastern end of the ridge, looking along to the summit of Penya Roig and beyond that Montgo and the coast.

This is a delightful ridge about 5km long which divides the Vall de Laguar and the Vall de Pop.  For much of the time you are walking on limestone pavement, in places worn and polished by many boots and best avoided on a wet day.  There are a couple of short rock steps on the eastern half of the ridge but these are aided by fixed ropes and don’t present much difficulty.  I usually start and finish at the mountain village of Fleix although several other starting points are also possible such as from the Collado de Garga above Benimaurell.  

Cavall Verd is the Valencian name for the ridge (Caballo Verde is the Spanish name) and it means green horse.  The ridge gets this name due to history, myths and legends.  Back in 1609 there was a huge battle on the ridge as the Spanish king, Fillipe II ordered the final expulsion of the Moors.  The last remaining Moors had taken take refuge on the ridge near the rocky summit of Penya Roig above Murla.  Legend says that a Moorish knight on a green charger rode out in an attempt to save them. Unfortunately, he failed and so the surviving Moors were deported from the port of Denia to North Africa.

I’ve walked the ridge in both directions and both have stunning views out across the mountains. East to west you have views ahead towards Mallada del Llop and the wild, rocky Serra de Serella.  If you walk west to east along the ridge though you have fine views out to the coast with the coastal mountains of Montgo and Serra de Segaria. 

In the spring the ridge is home to a wonderful variety of flowering plants including white asphodels, fennels, different varieties of cistus, rosemary and thyme.  For me this is the best time to walk here as I love to see the flora in all it's glory, and there is so much of it that the walk always takes longer as I stop to admire and photograph each one!

The terrain at either end of the ridge is totally different.  The eastern end of the ridge being home to the rocky peak of Penya Roig.  When you drive down the Vall de Pop, distinctive twin peaks at the head of the valley beckon you – this is Penya Roig above the village of Murla. This peak is the true summit of El Cavall Verd.  It is not accessible from the main part of the ridge due to the steepness of the limestone crags which would involve a serious scramble.  The western end is the complete opposite with green pine woods which are refreshingly cool to walk through after a hot day on the ridge.

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At the western end of Cavall Verd with Mallada de Llop in the distance.

For anyone wanting a shorter day out this is a walk which can also be done in two halves.  There is a path at about the half way point which leads back down to hillside.  The western circuit takes about two hours to walk.  It is best to start and finish in the village of Benimaurell, one of the pretty mountain villages in the Vall de Laguar.  Every house seems to be painted a different colour and the balconies and roof terraces are filled with colourful pots of plants.

Keep an eye out for next weeks walk!

Kate

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White asphodel on El Cavall Verd ridge

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