Bordering the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park and the province of Ciudad Real, the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park is one of the greatest gems of nature that the province of Córdoba offers us. A place where the tranquility of the surroundings is reflected even in the landscape, with smooth hills, rounded forms and peaceful paths and very easy to transit; making it the perfect destination for lovers of rural tourism. And it is that the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park offers a wide network of footpaths that the visitor can cross so much on foot as to horse or in bicycle. Five trails that total approximately 65 km and are ideal for family trips, since they do not involve difficulty, passing through smooth hills and having good road conditioning.
However, if there is a hiking route that stands out above the others, that is, without doubt, the Aldea del Cerezo - Venta del Charco hiking route. An itinerary that takes place in the heart of the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro and that runs through the only melojo oak meadow that exists in the province of Córdoba and in which it is possible to observe the typical rounded blocks of granite, called "bolos" by the own autochthonous. The advantage is that in both towns, Cardeña and Montoro, there are high quality rural accommodation to spend the night at the end of the route. Villages of great charm that still preserve their popular architecture.
This route is very simple, since the road is almost completely flat. Ideal to enjoy the walk, while we observe deer, pigs, horses, cows, etc. Although the route can be done in both directions, we will take as a starting point the population of Aldea del Cerezo in Cardeña. In this area, many of the names of the villages allude to the food and lodging services that were offered to travelers as early as the Middle Ages, such as the El Charco Inn or Cardeña Inn, located in Cardeña. The population of Aldea del Cerezo has a particular charm, because although the rural exodus of the sixties made it almost disappear, in the nineties it was rehabilitated and today we can stay in those rural houses and get closer to the life forms of our ancestors.
The path goes through a meadow of strong and elegant holm oaks with acorns. Not in vain, this land was already known in the Muslim era as the " Valle de las Bellotas". After walking a few kilometers, we will begin to see the famous "bolos", material from which they are built, the houses, hermitages, castles and churches of the area. And this dehesa provides its inhabitants with all the resources necessary for their day to day. All an example of sustainable development.
The second half of the route crosses a place of impressive beauty. As we said before, it is the only melojo oak meadow that currently has the province of Córdoba. The grayish green of the holm oaks intermingles with the light green of the melojo oaks, giving rise to a spectacular landscape. But if we visit the area in the autumn months, the landscape is completely different. A range of ochres and browns that fall forming a carpet. A path that undoubtedly awakens all the senses.
The itinerary also takes us through several ponds that serve both livestock and wildlife. We must say that the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro is known for presenting some of the last populations of wolf and Iberian lynx. After walking more than 6 kilometers, we will arrive at the Venta del Charco, a true crossroads of cultures and traditions, where we will end our route.