The villages of Genal Valley are situated at similar altitude on both sides of the river. Villages which are on the same river bank are a different story. However, in order to reach the opposite bank villages, there is no other option but to go downhill, cross the river and climb back up again from the bank to the village. This is what happens in Stage 27. Moreover, in case of the two villages, Benalauría and Genalguacil, they are not exactly facing each other, and there is no visual contact between them, so the distance is even greater.
So, fortunately, it is necessary to stroll beside the river for a few kilometres to connect two public paths, having descended from Benalauría before you climb to Genalguacil.
The landscape is totally forested, with prevailing diverse tree species, especially Cork oaks and Portuguese gall oaks, but also chestnuts and Maritime pine. The multi-species galleried woods play a predominant role at the bottom of the closed in V-shaped valley with steep slopes, the kingdom of slate and schist.
Up to the Prado de la Escribana you will be walking southwards, however the last section should lead you uphill and east towards the end of the Stage.
Walking along the Valle del Genal is already reason enough to love this stage. Firstly, because both Benalauría and Genalguacil have a special place in the Comarca de la Serranía de Ronda, (Ronda Region) due to the conservation and advancing of their original skills and, especially, for supporting arts and crafts.
Next, there are extensive woods of Quercus species occupying the steep hills, amongst them you will often see interspersed Maritime pines. These woods are replced in favourable places by chestnut groves which, to someone unfamiliar, are diffi cult to associate with crops.Also, the list of Mediterranean scrub species both on the sunny and shady slopes is very extensive.
However, the star feature of the day is the river Genal itself. It has been recovering the vegetation of its banks, the fertile plains,vegas, and its winding little corners until it has become a river which would have been hard do recognise by its ancient inhabitants. The past inhabitants of the river area had practically converted it into a long industrial estate where millers, gardeners, livestock breeders, charcoal makers, tanners, cork cutters and mule drivers toiled daily to support themselves. The remains and ruins of this old Genal have been left on the banks of the river as a reminder, visible from the ancient walkways which are being used again today. The path will also take the walker along the traditional caminos and symbolical places from the historical or ethnographical point of view, such as El Arabí, Benajamuz, the string of fl ower and olive oil mills, or the Prado de la Escribana.