ARTE RUPESTRE

Enclave:

Route of the three dolmens on the Vero River

  • Estimated time :3 h
  • Distance :10,1 km
  • Total Climb-descent :Climb: 296 m; Descent:298 m
  • Altitude :Maximum: 939 m ; Minimum: 833 m
  • Type :Circular
  • Difficulty :Average.
  • Itinerary :Only some of the stretches of the route are signposted
  • Track/road type :The entire route is followed on foot and includes forest tracks and paths.

Mapa

INTERESTING FEATURES

River Vero Cultural Park, Guara Sierra and Canyons Natural Park, the holm-oak forest known as Almazorre Forest, the agrarian landscape of the 'Tierra Bucho' (Box Land).

PREHISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF INTEREST

Dolmen of the Scales (2nd millennium BC), Dolmen of the Little Chapel (3rd millennium BC), Pueyoril Dolmen (3rd millennium BC).

DESCRIPTION

Stretching out at the foot of the Tozal de Asba, a legendary mountain that was, according to tradition, a gathering place for the witches of Sobrarbe, are two dense holm-oak forests and the plains of the Tierra Bucho. This part of the River Vero Cultural Park is shrouded in both magic and mystery, since it also contains some of the most enigmatic and unexplained human constructions, dolmens. Along the course of this route, we will encounter three of them, known as the Dolmen of the Scales, the Dolmen of the Little Chapel and the Pueyoril Dolmen.

Whether you set off from Aínsa or Boltaña, take the highway to Guaso. When you come to Arcusa, continue along the A-2205 highway for 2.5 km, at which point you take a new road to the right signposted for Paules de Sarsa and Sarsa de Surta. The starting point for the route is next to this junction, just a few metres from the crossroads stand the ruins of a building known as the Mesón de Arcusa. Next to it is an information point for the Guara Sierra and Canyons Natural Park, which can be easily identified by its wooden structure and hexagonal tiled roof. Park your vehicle here.

The track that we must follow, heading south-west, begins at the clearing fitted out as a car park. Even though there are no signposts, it is easy to find as it is the only one here. At the start of the route, you pass a small stand of wild pines. Over the next ten minutes, you cross an expanse of land thick with dense box scrub, the most abundant plant here.

In the early 20th century, the residents in this southern area of Sobrarbe began a new trade, which involved cutting the roots of the box, known locally as bucho, to make extremely hard wooden balls. These were then sent to France, where they were sold as essential elements of the game of boules. This continued until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, when trade with Spain's neighbour came to a halt due to the conflict. The disappearance of this trade also resulted in the increasing replacement of wooden balls with metal ones.

During the three decades that the box exploitation remained operational, many residents of Santa María de La Nuez and Betorz and to a lesser extent those of Lecina and other towns and villages in the area devoted themselves to this activity as it was more profitable than others. It was for this reason that in the early 20th century, the people of Sobrarbe dubbed this area of the district Tierra Bucho.

When you come to the top of the first stretch, carry on along the path and descend down the left bank of the gulley of Las Pilas, a tributary of the River Vero. Stretching out on the far side is a forest of pines and large holm oaks. In view all the time is the unmistakable silhouette of the summit of Asba, which, at 1438 m in altitude, is the highest peak in the area.

Twenty minutes after setting out, we reach the bottom of the gulley, which is normally dry except in times of heavy rainfall. Continue up the stony gulley bed for approximately 60 m. You will come to the path once again on your left, which you will not be able to miss. From this point, you begin a long climb through the holm-oak forest, after which comes a virtually flat open section that heads south-west. Carry on till you come to a path to the left, signposted with a metal plaque that reads "Caseta de las Balanzas" (Little House of the Scales). The fact that this site is far from inhabited areas and is hidden away amid the dense holm-oak forest that surrounds it means that we are today able to admire a major archaeological site that has survived in excellent condition, even though some of the block of stones have been shifted from their original position.

The path we must now take begins at the information panel concerning the dolmen. The signpost reads "Ruta al dolmen de Almazorre" (Route to Almazorre Dolmen), since it is also possible to get to the town of Almazorre, which is on the network of the River Vero Cultural Park paths, from this place in just 1 hour 10 minutes.

Five minutes on from the dolmen, you come to a track that crosses the path you were on at a right angle. Take the track to the right, leaving the path that would have led to Almazorre. Even though you will see no further markings from here on, you will not have any problems, as we will always be walking along well-beaten forest tracks.

In the next ten minutes, and after a gentle climb, you come to a major crossroads. Ignore the tracks off to either side and take the one straight ahead. After 50 m, the path twists to the right (north) and heads towards Paules de Sarsa. A little further on and still on the track, you will be able to see a panoramic view of the summit of Asba and of the River Vero, which flows down the canyon, meandering as it goes.

Ten minutes from the previous crossroads, you come to another, but here you take the track to the left. As you head north, you will continue to make your way through dense holm-oak forest.

An hour and a half after you set out on the route, you will come to some dry-stone walls on either side of the path, indicating that you will soon reach the main road. If you look north, you will be able to make out the Pyrenean summits of Monte Perdido and Peña Montañesa, as well as the towns of Arcusa and El Coscollar.

After some almond groves, you come to the main road and the junction that leads to El Coscollar. The Shrine of San Isidro stands in this very spot. A signpost points the way to the "Dolmen de la Capilleta" (Dolmen of the Little Chapel), situated on small hillock. You will also be able to admire the sweeping panoramic view that takes in the towns of Paules de Sarsa and Santa María de la Nuez.

Head back to the main road and the Shrine of San Isidro. Do not take the turn-off to El Coscollar. Walk up the main road for 20 minutes (1.4 km) till you come to an information panel and a signpost to the right, pointing the way to the "Dolmen de Pueyoril" (Pueyoril Dolmen). A clearly identifiable, well-marked path takes you in five minutes to the third of the megalithic monuments that you visit on this route.
You must return to the main road by the same path. A ten-minute walk along the highway brings you back to your starting point.

RECOMMENDATIONS

You must take drinking water with you and wear walking boots.