Rivers and Waters
La Sierra of el Pedroso is the collector and dispenser of water from the streams that have their headwaters here.
One of them is seen just as you pass the Cortijo de la Morena. It is a watercourse quite closed-in between clay slopes and it has been granted the name of Barranco del Infierno, Hell’s Ravine. From the walk it offers a rugged look, with dense riparian vegetation, on its way northwards. Then it meets a tributary and is directed towards Villanueva de Algaidas next to the short road linking it with Villanueva de Tapias.
The other watercourse is the Arroyo de Bebedero. This arises from the western flank of el Pedroso and makes a wide curve to meet up with the GR. It follows the walk during quite long e a stretch. During this nice section you will see a pool using a small natural spring and after a hydraulic mill, El Molino de Pozo, in front of other, also ruined, buildings.
On the other side, is a thick belt of Gall aks and Holm oaks that are holding onto a stout clay escarpment goes down in an oblique line among olive trees in search of the stream.
There are plenty of trees: ash, willows, elms and poplars on the banks, plus a good specimen of an Holm oak wood on the slopes of Rondán. The watercourse has crved uout the banks down to the fi nest strata of limestone, whic is visible following a short detour to your left. The numerous Brambles, when not the cane fi elds are responsible for consolidating the high land of the river embankments. The many brabmbles, in the absence of reedbeds, are in charge of holding the soil of the tall embankments of the river together. The river bed is compacted due to the high contents of carbonate minerals, which at some time encouraged a pulation of crayfish. A little after passing the bridge over the Arroyo de Bebedero, the path meets the afore- mentioned ravine barranco or Garganta del Infierno and they enter the village together, breaking the village nugget of the village´s population in the north called Atalaya apart from the village proper.
As you enter Villanueva de Tapia you are surrounded by olive trees and this will be the prevailing type of environment during Stage 14. It is still quite easy to picture the forest which must have once covered the area centuries ago, before the land was ploughed and devoted to farming. This is evident when you pass through the patches of young pine woods and by various large holm oaks; however there are only a few of these, they are very valuable to the birds and the fauna in general. The section along the stream Arroyo del Bebedero shows wealth of riparian vegetation where both holm oaks and Portuguese gall oaks are present.
In spite of being a large extensive monoculture, the olive grove supports a high diversity of species throughout the year. Additionally, during Stage 14 you will be passing through patches of interesting natural vegetation. In the olive groves the most frequently seen species are Common Buzzard, Red-legged Partridge, Eurasian Stone-curlew, European Turtle Dove, Red-necked Nightjar, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Song Thrush, Redwing, Common Blackbird, European Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless and Common Starling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Common Linnet, Serin and Corn Bunting.
The presence of such species as rabbit, hare and the Red-legged Partridge, and the presence of mountains nearby, favour the occurrence of large birds of prey; you may see along the way the Golden Eagle, Bonelli´s Eagle and Eagle Owl. In the patches of natural vegetation some woodland species occur, such as Common Wood Pigeon, Cuckoo, Blue Tit, Hawfinch and Cirl Bunting, and the ruined farmhouses support Common Kestrel, Little Owl, Red-rumped Swallow and Blue Rock Thrush. In the open areas you can see Common Stonechat and Raven and in the villages at the beginning and the end of Stage 14 the urban-dwelling species prevail (mainly Eurasian Collard Dove, Common and Pallid Swifts, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Spotless Starling and House Sparrow).