Difficulty: Easy, short, though lots of uphill
Good Walk for: All year excl. full Summer, inc. cloudy/rainy days (coffee start, winery middle, lunch end!) Birding, wildflowers and villages. Stretching your legs on the up.
Distance: 3 Km
Options: You can skip the last path by turning right then left after Bodega Jarel to get into Cómpeta by road. You can combine it, after lunch with several walks back via Canillas de Albaida to Árchez (watch this space!)
Description: The walk starts from the parking by the river in Árchez. This is actually a good spot for birding on a quiet day, as the opposite bank is thick with brambles making dozens of birds feel secure enough to fly in and out – look out for flycatchers and yellow wagtails.
Walk along the road, downstream, passing Restaurante La Peña opposite the first bridge before you cut up on the left to reach a tiny square (where you might stop for a coffee or a hot chocolate if it is a dull day).
Leaving the plaza walk out to the main road ahead (pass the traffic lights and hill). At the next junction, where there is a magnificent Algarrobo or Carob Tree, go left and continue on the road for less than 5 minutes. You see a wooden signpost to Árchez on your left just past a thin, water-eroded track, which leads up towards a house on the bank above. Take this: it is steep and poor, but only for a few yards, then runs behind the house before heading uphill. After 5 minutes you come out onto new terraces.
Turn right here and follow the track skirting the edge of the terraces uphill, pacing yourself. The terraces are being planted with avocados, which dominate as their price is good while the olive price has crashed, but as the track winds on you will pass almond trees and vines, which have a much longer history here, as well as looking back down on Árchez and back up to Canillas de Albaida. When you come to a junction with another, main track (the Camino de Árchez proper), sometimes having to step over a chain here, turn left.
Now the track passes villas and farmhouses then the “paseros” or raisin beds of Bodega Jarel, which you find just before the main road. It is properly the Bodega Almijara producing the Vinos Jarel but the sign on the road combines these. it is worth a visit – if they are open the shop is a little treasure trove of local goods – honey, avocado soap, oddities – as well as wine. Yes, they allow you to sample pre-purchase… but don’t get drunk if you are walking back!
Coming out from the Bodega go ahead to the main road and turn left, walking for about 100 metres til just before a road bridge. At this point cross the road and find a little path that cuts into the bank. This brings you to some steep stone steps: be careful but go up here and you emerge next to a large “deposito” or open air water tank. This is sometimes boringly half full but often full and rife with waterplants – weed and reeds – and walking along the track beside it may lead to dozens of ‘plops’ as frogs leap into the water at your approach. I have seen a cattle egret here and don’t blame it! At the end of the deposito the path continues on, crossing to the right and soon comes to another set of concrete steps (wider and dryer) bringing you to another path. Turn right.
The new path brings you up a pretty cobbled channel to the edge of Cómpeta town: you come out just beyond the San Anton chapel. If you head straight on and, after passing the Hotel, come to a choice of left (on the level) or right (downhill) you go left past the “Consultario” (health centre) you will emerge after a couple of minutes in Cómpeta’s main square, with its church, banks, and numerous cafe bars: perfect for a bit of lunch. Enjoy!
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