Tuesday 15th March 2016
The Valle de Ricote was the last Moorish redoubt in Spanish Levante. The landscapes, if not the towns, are one of the most beautiful and undiscovered parts of the Murcia region.
In March we travelled north of Murcia City to Archena to be met by our guide Ignacio who was to show us the many hidden secrets of the fertile irrigated plains around the River Segura.
The towns of Ricote, Ojós, Abarán, Blanca, Ulea, Villanueva del Segura and Archena, are all surrounded by fruit and citrus orchards, many of which were in bloom.
The Ricote is a fertile plain that clings to its Arab heritage, as shown by the numerous remains from this period, including its irrigation systems.
Blanca has retained its legacy as a producer of esparto grass. In Abarán, a scruffy town, we followed a route to two of the many preserved waterwheels, or “ñoras” as they are known in the area, which transport water from the river to irrigate the most distant plains.
We did not see any rafting on the River Segura but were taken to a fantastic man made mirador, the Alto Bayna viewing point in Blanca for stunning views across the river and lake.
All this on an unusually warm spring day and a great lunch in the International Restaurant in Archena made for the perfect day.