The ‘Cañada Real Leonesa Occidental’ is one of the nine main drovers roads found on the Iberian Peninsula. In the foothills of Sierra Morena, where the provinces of Huelva and Sevilla meet Badajoz, this drovers road picks its way past Llerena and enters the La Serena plain. Here grazes the highest concentration of merino sheep in all of Spain, which produce the renowned ‘torta de la Serena’ cheese.
The road runs alongside Zalamea, Quintana, Castuera and Campanario, crossing the Zújar river at its reservoir’s dam and following the banks of the Guadiana to the dam at Puerto Peña. Here it crosses the river once more, heading towards Valdecaballeros and Castilblanco and climbing the slopes of Guadarranque to enter the province of Toledo by way of the Puerto de San Vicente.
After crossing the Tajo river on the Arzobispo Bridge, it continues towards the Central System mountains via El Real de San Vicente and Sotillo de la Adrada. At the boundary between Toledo, Ávila and Madrid one would have found the royal mountain pass of this drovers road, not too far from the old Juradera Inn near the 2nd century sculptures Toros de Guisando.
Near Cebreros, the road climbs up through the mountain passes of Arrebatacapas and La Lancha, coming across the ‘Cañada Real Soriana Occidental’ at Campo Azálvaro.
The ‘Cañada Real Leonesa Occidental’ continues past Villacastín and Labajos, making its way to Coca through Juarros de Voltoya. From here a minor road branches off towards Valladolid, passing through Alcazarén and Valdestillas, while the main drovers road carries on through Cogeces de Iscar and Portillo, crossing the Duero river at Tudela. As it comes to Renedo and Valoria, it rises into the dry plains of Tariego and enters the city of Palencia.
From here the road skirts the Carrión riverbank until it reaches Perales and Villoldo, where an important secondary road breaks away to the right, headed for Cervera de Pisuerga and the mountain passes of Piedrasluengas y Peñalabra. The main drovers road wades into the banks of La Cueza, crossing the dry plains of Villambroz and Villota del Páramo until it reaches the Ermita de San Roque. At this point, an eastern path splinters off through Guardo and Besande towards the mountain passes of San Glorio and Pandetrave; while a western path cuts through Cegoñal and Prioro, Huérgano, climbing the Pando mountain pass before twisting towards Boca de Huérgano. Here, the old Pedrosa bridge lies sunken by the Riaño reservoir built on the Esla river, which the drovers road follows on its right-hand bank all the way to the mountain passes of El Pontón and Tarna.
Photo gallery of the ‘Cañada Real Leonesa Oriental'
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