The olive gardens, natural route through the interior of l’Ampolla

The route

This route crosses the inland fields of l’Ampolla running between olive groves and carob trees. Every so often, like the grooves on crusty bread, the flat fields are dissected by gullies. Almost always sleepy and dry, the gullies give testimony to the past ferocity of the Mediterranean waters. With many a sleepless night, the farmers in the area have inch by inch, by the sweat of their brow and using stones, brought the surrounding areas under their control.

Ocean of olive trees

Some authors have described this area as being an ocean of olive trees. The olive tree, along with vines and wheat, is one of the three dry farming crops that characterise traditional Mediterranean agriculture. All civilisations that have enjoyed this tree’s fruit have considered it a sacred tree. The Greeks believed that Athena, the goddess of wisdom, offered it as a gift to humanity. The Hellenic, Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions have praised it, and even today an olive branch in a dove’s mouth is the universal symbol of peace.

The origins of the olive tree seem to be on the other side of the Mediterranean. It was brought to these parts by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. Later, from the 7th century onwards, the Muslims extended its cultivation throughout the Iberian Peninsula. As in many other coastal regions, the scarcity of water, the hot dry summers, the poor quality of the land and the extremely rugged terrain have severely restricted the number of agricultural products that can be grown. From afar, the terrain appears to be an absolutely flat plain, sloping towards the sea, but in fact, gullies continually cut across and dissect it.

Despite this, these difficult conditions have in many ways been the reason for the high quality of products that can be grown. The small quantities of fruit that can be harvested from the trees concentrate and distil the very essence of the earth and the Mediterranean and are of exceptionally high quality.

Before being cultivated these rocky, scrub areas used to be covered by a more or less thick calcareous crust, known locally as the ‘little cover’ taperot, which had to be removed by farmers in order for them to be able to plant olive and carob trees. The stones contained in the crust were used to build the banks that supported the earth along the slopes of the gullies or to construct farmhouses, cisterns or when they could neither be used nor transported; they were simply piled up in rows along the middle of the fields.

All these features have, throughout the centuries, created an open landscape in process of cultivation of great beauty and cultural value well worth preserving.

Itinerary

Route GR path

  • 1
    (0.000 m) Starting Point: l’Ampolla. Tourist Office (Ronda de Mar, 12). Follow the sea front in the direction of Camarles.
  • 2
    (1.160 m) Just before arriving at the shellfish treatment plant, turn right along the Furoner path. Take the asphalt track that passes under the railway path, the N-340 national road and the motorway.
  • 3
    (1.790 m) After emerging from the three tunnels, the path turns left, rises and then runs alongside the motorway.
  • 4
    (2.120 m) Turn right and continue along the Furoner path.
  • 5
    (3.800 m) Fork. Take the path to the left. The path to the right is a short cut.
  • 6
    (5.220 m) Fork. A short time after passing under electricity cables, cross the Furoner gully and take the path to the right that leads down and then go up to the asphalted path on the right, in front of an electricity pylon.
  • 7
    (5.410 m) Turn right. Take the flat asphalt path that runs alongside the gully.
  • 8
    (6.540 m) Fork. Take the path on the right and continue downwards.
  • 9
    (7.280 m) You will pass an asphalt path on the right that runs down, crossing the Furoner gully. Continue straight on.
  • 10
    (7.550 m) Fork. Leave the asphalt path and continue along the flat earth path to the left.
  • 11
    (8.100 m) The earth path leads to an asphalt path. Go down it and cross to the other side of the Sant Pere gully up a steep slope.
  • 12
    (9.410 m) You will reach a wider asphalt path. Continue straight down this path.
  • 13
    (9.710 m) Motorway. Turn right.
  • 15
    (12.000 m) Tunnels. Return by the same path as on the outward journey. And then we arrive to l’Ampolla Tourist Office.

Bird sightings

With this route you can walk through some amazing places inside l’Ampolla where you will enjoy bird watching at any time of the year. Even so, if you can choose a season, summer will be an ideal time to increase, and much, your list of this voyage of discovery of the Ebro Delta.

Discover all bird watching routes in l’Ampolla.

Ethical Code of birder from the Ebro Delta Natural Park.

Species to observer

  • Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
  • European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
  • Eurasian turtle (Streptopelia turtur)
  • Crested lark (Galerida cristata)
  • Woodchat shrike (Laniidae)
  • Cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
  • European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
  • Common linnet (Linaria cannabina)
  • Western orphean warbler (Sylvia hortensis)
  • Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa)

Useful information

  • The suggested route only follows the GR-92 path for the first kilometre. From this point the walk is not signposted; however, the description and the map make it easy to follow the natural route.
  • This walk is perfect for any time of the year. The spring and autumn months are the best. Sunny winter days can also be especially very pleasant.
  • It can be extremely hot in the summer and you must start off early in the morning so as to avoid the midday heat. Do not forget to bring along drinking water and a hat.
  • The estimated time for the walk has been calculated at an easy relaxed pace. It should be borne in mind however that, depending on the number of stops made, it could take much longer.
  • It goes without saying that great care should be taken to avoid the risk of forest and brush fires.
  • The Ampolla Tourist Office can provide further information and will be only too pleased to help you with any queries or hear your suggestions.