Vallehermoso Circular Walk

A trek through the most important juniper grove in the Canary Islands
Located in the municipality of Vallehermoso, in the western part of the island of La Gomera, this route takes you through one of the most emblematic juniper groves in the Canary Islands. However, the star of this walk is the landscape because as you walk round to the other face of the mountain, a great variety of plant species can be seen in a relatively small area. Also of interest is the fauna made up of birds like crows and common buzzards which usually accompany walkers on their way through the Gomeran hills.
A natural pathway among hermitages and hamlets
At twelve kilometres long and with a maximum incline of 680 metres, the circular walk of Vallehermoso takes about five hours along surfaces which vary between pathways, forest tracks and roads. Of average difficult, it is necessary to take the right equipment, footwear and enough food and liquid. Along the way enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounds and contemplate the ethnographic value of the hermitages of the area and the beach as well as a single farmhouse in Chijeré and Vallehermoso Castle.
Length
12 km
Public transport
Localidad
Vallehermoso
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Archivos
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Valle Hermoso
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TENERIFE

TENERIFE

GRAN CANARIA

GRAN CANARIA

FUERTEVENTURA

FUERTEVENTURA

LANZAROTE

LANZAROTE

LA GRACIOSA

LA GRACIOSA

LA GOMERA

LA GOMERA

LA PALMA

LA PALMA

EL HIERRO

EL HIERRO
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Beginning in the centre of the town

You start off from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and walk through part of the historic centre of what was the most important town in La Gomera during its period of agricultural splendour, as it was involved in the export of wine and in the 20th century, of bananas. Two-storied houses with roofs and wood work reflect this town's important position on the island.

You will go past the San Juan Bautista church which is a modern construction and reflects the story of the inhabitants themselves - the church has been rebuilt each time after successive destruction, finally leading to its current Neo-gothic form.

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The Era Nueva ravine

After going past the Vallehermoso cemetery, you will begin the slow climb up the Era Nueva ravine, which is home to some very interesting vegetation. The gorge and the old cultivation plots are presided over by palm trees that create unique groves. Side by side are tabaiba shrubs that have taken over the old cultivation plots and are slowly but surely erasing all signs of agricultural activity in this area.

The slopes are dominated by juniper trees.

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The namesake

As you climb up, the trail suddenly opens up and crosses a small plot with a stone surface. This serves as a reminder of the agricultural past of the valley, where it was surely cereals that were cultivated in the terraced plots along the gorge to produce gofio, a kind of roasted flour eaten by the ancient indigenous inhabitants and today the basic component of the rural diet in La Gomera.

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The Teselinde basin
At the end of the ascent, you have an excellent view of the upper part of Vallehermoso. On the right, you have the fir and heath forest in a continuous strip all the way to the National Park that ends in Epina; opposite, you have the Vallehermoso plateau, crowned by laurisilva. The view demonstrates the importance of agricultural activity in the valley. The forests in the upper part ensure that the slopes receive rain and this water then makes cultivation in the valley possible.
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Ermita de Santa Clara

This hermitage closes off the Teselinde area, which is like a special balcony from where you can take in the northern coast of La Gomera, limited by the Punta del Peligro and Punta Bejira in the west and the village of Arguamul on the slopes.

According to legend, this hermitage dedicated to Santa Clara was founded because of statue found by fishermen on the beach. This construction, albeit in a different location, is referred to as early as the 17th century; the building seen today is the third version in this area that is more protected and more suitable for the celebrations held in August.

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In the old Chijeré hills

Erosion has accentuated the semi-desert conditions on this windswept peak which is home to the Virgen del Coromoto hermitage. It was built in 1985 by the residents of Vallehermoso who had returned from Venezuela, where Nuestra Señora de Coromoto is the patroness. A few solitary palm trees prove the past human presence in the now abandoned village of Chijeré, where terraced cultivation and livestock rearing were the basics of the tough rural life in the north of La Gomera.

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The beautiful valley

After passing through these hills, you will arrive at Punta de Alcalá, the last vantage point before the cliff that leads to the sea. This is a view of Vallehermoso in all its splendour and you can appreciate the true dimension of this valley, which is not as evident from within.

Opposite you have the cultivation plots on the Tamargada slopes, which is one of the best places to understand how farmers have to struggle against the slope to somehow try and create a flat stretch that can be cultivated.

The cultivation plots of Vallehermoso were located in the gorge and here it is clear that this area was prosperous as it was easy to cultivate and received sufficient water. The houses are located on the more gradual slopes so as to save the most fertile land for cultivation.

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A hermitage and a fort, but without a master

At the end of the descent along the gorge of the ravine and before returning back to Vallehermoso along the highway, you can go to the coast. On the left, you have the remains of an old stone structure known as El Castillo ("The Fort") which was used to load agricultural products onto boats. Below, you have a hermitage dedicated to the Virgen de Candelaria, which was situated in many other locations where it was lashed at by the sea, before the most recent version in its current location was built.

Sustainability
Sostenibilidad
- Never leave waste of any type lying around, including cigarette butts. Leftover food leads to a proliferation of rats and wild cats, which pose a serious threat to the fauna.
- Respect the animals. Do not bother them or feed them. If you see an injured specimen, you can call the emergency number: 112. Do not pick flowers or plants.
- Do not pick up or take away stones or any other item from the natural environment. And do not move them to pile them up into sadly famous 'towers'.
- Respect the signposting along trails. Leaving the set paths causes damage to the environment and could also be dangerous for you and anyone with you.
- It is safer to keep your pet on a lead.
- Try not to alter the peace of the environment with excessive noise (loud music, yelling, etc.).
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