Laguna de Sobrado (foto cedida por Ecotono)
Tourist route behind the wheel
Boimorto (Arzúa Region), Vilasantar (Betanzos Region), Sobrado, Toques and Melide (Terra de Melide Region).
The stone part of the route takes us back in time as we pass through Megalithic monuments, Roman sites, Romanesque churches, pazos (ancestral galician country houses) and cruceiros (stone crosses).
The water aspect of the route flows from the sources of both the Tambre and Mandeo rivers, in the Sobrado lake, and in the River Furelos, a tributary of the River Ulla, with its impressive waterfall in As Brañas; it also flows in atributary of the Tambre, the River Gándaras, which has an accredited walking route where we can find a watermill and a restored and functioning textile mill.
The visitor will discover a natural setting where green trees and fields of cereal crops to the west contrast with, in the east, a landscape of mountains, rocks and interweaving roads in Bocelo Mountain and the mountain range known as Serra do Careón. Serra do Careón, a zone protected by Red Natura 2000, is home to several end angered, and protected species, of which some of the mare unique to this area.
This rural environment is obviously influenced by the confluence of The French Pilgrim Way to Santiago de Compostela (Camino de Santiago francés), the Primitive and Northern Ways to Santiago, as well as live stock farming, which is mainly concerned with dairy production, and the agro-food industry, along with the forestry sector and the commercial and hospitality industries based in Melide. It is here, in Melide, where we can find the only industrial park in these five districts.
The Arzúa-Ulloa cheese (Protected designation of origin) and the Melide’smelindres (shaped like small, round doughnuts) are the main features of this famous local gastronomy.
Should you wish to eat locally, to go shopping or to discover the nightlife, it is always advisable to ask the locals. They will guide you in the right direction.
Tellería de Boimorto. A la derecha laguna de Sobrado
Total distance: 79 km.
Recommended duration to complete this route: 2 days.
Circular route: it is possible to start the route at any point of the itinerary.
Estimated travelling time: 2 hours by car.
If you are travelling from A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela or Lugo, you will reach this route in less than one hour.
DISTRICT OF VILASANTAR
The Romanesque Church of Santa María de Mezonzo
The Romanesque Church of Santa María de Mezonzo and the heritage grain and cloth mills.
The Romanesque Church of Santa María de Mezonzo, declared an Historical and Artistic Monument in 1931, is a Romanesque jewel dating back to the beginning of the thirteenth century. Saint Pedro de Mezonzo was the abbot here in an older monastery that no longer exists. He would later become Bishop of Santiago de Compostela (tenth century).
The renovated textile and grain mills can be found in close proximity to the church. Mr. Pepe do Batán, a Vilasantar resident, is in charge of preserving the textile mill and the passing on of its tradition to future generations. In order to do that, he puts it into operation whilst explaining its history and mechanics. Right beside this textile or cloth mill, on the Gándaras riverbank, the visitor can find the beautiful PR-G 195 route which can be travelled on foot or bicycle. Coming down from the mill, the visitor will enjoy the beautiful view of the waterfall.
Batán de Mezonzo (Vilasantar)
DISTRICT OF BOIMORTO
After the walk, keep travelling towards Melide, making sure you stop in Boimorto to recharge your batteries in one of the manybars or coffee shops there. Boimorto has become well-known for its musical scene in the last few years due to the Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light) which is celebrated during the second weekend in September in the environs of the house where the singer and composer Luz Casal was born. During this festival, national and international artists perform for free in order to promote the local rural life and nature.
The Camino Norte (northern pilgrim´s route) to Santiago crosses the centre of Boimorto and this has notably improved the standardof accommodation and has helped create new businesses in the last few years. During the summer months, the visitor will be able to relax in the municipal public pool or in the River Tambre. The source of this river is in Sobrado dos Monxes and it flows through Boimorto and Vilasantar.
Festival da Luz (Boimorto)
Leaving this route behind, beside the “Casa do Concello” (town hall), we can see the old Roman miliary, discovered in the 1980s, example of the oldroad network and signalling system. From there you can go to the twelfth century Romanesque church of Sendelle where you can admire the semicircular apse and the sixteenth century murals illustrating scenes of the Liturgy.
Miliario romano. Murales del siglo XVI. Iglesia de Sendelle (Boimorto)
DISTRICT OF MELIDE
Plaza del Convento (Melide)
Melide is the most populated district on this route with more than 7000 inhabitants. Pilgrims from the Camino Francés to Santiago stop here to enjoy dishes such as octopus and the traditional Melide baking (melindres, ricos and almendrados), shopping (mainly the Sunday market) and also to enjoy the nightlife at the weekend.
The town centre is pure art in stone and the architecture of Plaza del Convento is undoubtedly the greatest example of this, along with the Sancti Spirictus Convent and the Obra Pía de Santo Antón, a baroque country house built in the seventeenth century with a chapel and currently housing the Town Hall. Next to this is the sixteenth century pilgrims’ hospital, where today we can find the Ethnographic Museum Terra de Melide.
We would advise the visitor to spend at least a morning discovering the rich heritage of this village, whose original purpose was to accommodate the needs of pilgrims on their way to Compostela.
Cruceiro (Melide). Á dereita Igrexa de Santa María de Melide
Crucero (Melide). Á la derecha Iglesia de Santa María de Melide
DISTRICT OF TOQUES
Fervenza das Brañas
Fervenza das Brañas (Brañas waterfall)
Toques is a small district (around 1000 inhabitants), tucked between the Serra do Careón and Monte do Bocelo, a stunning landscape which has a rich biodiversity and equally rich heritage. As much as 40% of its territory is protected by Red Natura 2000, due to the extensive amount of endangered and protected species of fl ora and fauna found here, some of them unique to this area, like the Santolina Melidensis, which grows in the Serra do Careón.
From the town of Melide, drive to the Fervenza das Brañas in Toques, an imposing waterfall in the Furelos river, a tributary of the river Ulla. Make sure you also spot the old mill that quietly over looks this striking scenery
In order to discover the most important natural and heritage sites in this area, please choose from one of the three officially approved walking routes in the Concello de Toques or the route from Concello de Sobrado.
Monasterio de San Antolín de Toques. A la derecha Dolmen Forno dos Mouros, Toques
San Antolín Monastery
Another highly recommended stop is the Monasterio de San Antolín, where sadly just the church is preserved. Here we find two pre-Romanesque styles: the Hispanic-Visigoth and the Lombard. The architecture here is unique when compared to other religious monuments found in this area and in Galicia.
Dolmen Forno dos Mouros
The Dolmen Forno dos Mouros, also known as Dolmen de Muruxosa, is one of the most important and well preserved Megalithic monuments of Galicia. Located between Toques and Sobrado, in the Serra do Bocelo, it is believed to date from the third millennium BC and which still has its original entrance corridor. Should you wish to visit, we recommend doing so on footvia the Ruta dos Megalitos de Torques or the Roteiro de Pena Moura in Sobrado as both routes converge here.
DISTRICT OF SOBRADO
Santa María Monastery
Leaving the dolmen and following a winding road through Monte Bocelo (Bocelo´s Forest), were ach Sobrado dos Monxes. The fi rst thing to notice is the monastery´s impressive baroque facade, a work at tribute to Pedro de Monteagudo.
Founded in 952 by the Count of Présaras Hermenegildo, this monastery then saw some glorious times thanks to the work done by the successive monastic orders, but there were also periods of neglect. Now a days the monastery combines the spiritual life of the Benedictine monks with the life of the guests staying there. A visit to the interior of the monastery is recommended. It has a seventeenth century Baroque church, three wellpreserved cloisters built sometime between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and also a Romanesque chapterhouse.
Monasterio de Sobrado dos Monxes
Laguna de Sobrados dos Monxes (Sobrado dos Monxes Lake). Biosphere Reserve.
The rivers Mandeo and Tambre have their sources in Sobrado, the land of stone and water. The monks soon realized they could take advantage of this wealth and in the sixteenth century they channeled the water from these rivers in order to create an artificial lake which today appears totally natural. The diversity of flora and fauna found here make sit the central point of the reserve, called Biosfera Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo, and it is one of the best locations for bird watching. There is a deciduous forest, water lilies and irises, birds, ducks breeding on the lake, as well as other species living there or passing through, all of which go to make this place a truly natural paradise. After visiting the lake, head to Vilasantar, which is where the Water and Stone
Sobrado dos Monxes Lake
Other places of interest in Sobrado.
- Roman camp known as A Ciadella. This is the largest of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula (approximately two hectares) and here the visitor can see a typical camp structure for a ¨cohorte equitata¨ or cavalry. Excavations showed the existence of the principia (a religious and administrative building), the praetorium (high command quarters) and the horreas (grain store).
- Museum Bea Rey. Pictorial work of Bea Rey, cataloged in the museum that bears his name, in the place of Lago, a few kilometers from the municipal capital, where is located her family’s home. Her work includes various pictorial styles, from abstraction and geometry, in the first half of the Seventies; to surrealism, expressionism and neocubism in the early 21st century; her final stage.
Roman camp known as A Ciadella (Sobrado). On the right Bea Rey Museum
|Igrexa Románica de Santa María de Mezonzo e conxunto de muíño e batán de Mezonzo e Vilasantar:||43.060430, -8.133804|
|Piscina municipal Boimorto:||43.003143, -8.149194|
|Miliario romano en Boimorto:||43.007954, -8.126966|
|Igrexa románica de Sendelle (Concello de Boimorto):||42.985094, -8.154349|
|Obra Pía de Santo Antón-Praza do Convento de Melide:||42.915255, -8.016627|
|Fervenza das Brañas en Toques:||42.995940, -7.947708|
|Mosteiro de San Antolín en Toques:||42.978280, -7.983000|
|Dolmen de Forno dos Mouros en Toques:||43.012028, -7.975518|
|Mosteiro de Santa María de Sobrado:||43.039051, -8.022587|
|Lagoa de Sobrado dos Monxes||43.038126, -8.008959|
WHAT TO VISIT, WHAT TO SEE, WHAT TO DO
MONUMENTOS RELIGIOSOS: IGLESIAS Y CRUCEROS
Casa do queixo / Zoo Escola