Friday, 7 July 2023, 23:53
The stars and planets shine more brightly when you look at them from Serrato. This village, which was once part of Ronda and has been an independent municipality since 2014, is one of the places with the least light pollution in Andalucía. Its location, although not very high in altitude, enjoys the protection offered by nearby mountain ranges, such as Ortegícar.
This ideal geographical situation is coupled with the sparse population of the village itself - fewer than 500 - and its immediate surroundings, as its nearest neighbours, such as Cañete la Real and Ardales, are several kilometres away. Only the village of Cuevas del Becerro, its historical rival, is somewhat closer.
This means that, especially as summer approaches, many astronomy enthusiasts come here to get a clearer view of the sky.
Logically, it is necessary to move away from the village centre to enjoy the stars and planets more intensely, which together are seen as a bright mantle that gives some light to the nights of Serrato.
The same mountain ranges that shelter it and prevent light pollution are also ideal for walking or hiking. This has improved recently, both in terms of safety and signage, thanks to the approval of three paths that allow you to get to know the area of Serrato better.
In this village in the Guadalteba district of Malaga province there are those who might think that there is no more than extensive fields of cereals and olive groves, but this network of footpaths offers a different view.
The area is well known to those who have done the linear route of the Sierra de Santiago (SL-A-351), which, like the other two new routes, starts from the village. In this case, from the cemetery, you set off on a beautiful path that first passes by cereal fields. Then the interesting route begins, with steep ravines, some pine trees and a surprising holm oak forest.
This path leads to the Almanzora hill, an excellent viewpoint both of Serrato and its surroundings, which links up with the Sierra de las Nieves national park.
The other two new routes that were added to the network of footpaths in March also offer other perspectives of Serrato. The SL-A-350, for example, leads to the Almorchón de Gutiérrez, a hill which, at almost a thousand metres above sea level, offers a beautiful climb to enjoy excellent panoramic views. The landscape, sometimes steep and sometimes wooded, is softened by the existing pine forest.
This last walk partially coincides with the one that completes this new hiking trilogy, that of Siete Pozos (PR-A-489). This is another circular route that reaches the karst landscape that gives its name to the walk. It first passes along the course of the Riachuelo river and then through another beautiful holm oak wood.
These three new routes can be added to two other existing trails near Serrato, the stages of the great path that links Tarifa with Athens, the long-distance GR7-E4. Thus, Serrato is also linked by foot and cycle routes to relatively close or neighbouring villages, such as Ardales, Cuevas del Becerro or even Arriate.
But it would be a mistake to go to Serrato just because of its footpaths or because it is an ideal place to look at the sky.
The village, although the smallest in the Guadalteba district, is also worth a stroll through its steep streets. The most emblematic building is the church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which was originally built in the 16th century, although its current appearance is much more contemporary, after various remodelling works.
There is also a small hermitage, which serves as a panoramic viewpoint over the village, and what is known as the Fuente del Caño, an old spring that was remodelled in 2008.
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