The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 19 February 2016

19 February – Doñana

The Parque Nacional Coto de Doñana mainly comprises a large road-free chunk of wild-life infested marshland and, having read about the place (including a visit to the Visitor Centre whilst we were in Sanlúcar de Barrameda), I would very much have liked to explore it, but the only options for so doing involved organised boat and/or Jeep tours, which didn’t sound like my cup of tea. So, having found that a bit of the park extended to the Sanlucar side of the river, and that there was a short walking trail there, we decided to go and take a look.

We seem to have had an awful lot of rain over the last couple of weeks and it was raining again this morning as the SatNav took us on an ‘interesting’ tour of Sanlucar featuring one particular road where we cleared the parked cars with just inches to spare (and that’s not to mention receiving many a direction to take us the wrong way down one-way streets; it’s a good job we were paying attention to the road signs and ignoring the SatNav!).

After a far longer journey than a 10km distance would usually take, we arrived in the car park just as another shower was upon us. Feeling sure that it was going to clear up any minute (mainly because that’s what the weather forecast had said) the usual delaying tactics of coffee and toast were again employed. It worked! Whilst we did get a few spots of rain on us, our walk was largely in the dry.

For reasons that baffle me, the route we were to follow doesn’t start from the car park, but from about 100m beyond it, next to this lagoon:

As the information sign is located, and the waymarks also start, 100m from the car park, unless you know about the trail and in which direction to head to pick it up, you could easily miss the fact that it exists. Fortunately, I was armed with the map tile on ViewRanger and the gpx file.

Initially a sandy track was our walking surface…

…which took us (with ash falling on us like light snow) past lots of workmen removing the lower branches of the pines and burning the piles of offcuts, before we turned and found ourselves on a narrower sandy path:

The highpoint of the route was a dizzying 18m above sea level, which was high enough to put us just above the tops of the surrounding trees:

The 3.1-mile circuit took us a little under an hour and was sadly lacking in many signs of life beyond a couple of school groups. There was a variety of bird-life on the lagoon, but that was it and I came away not feeling like I’d had any sort of a taster as to what the bulk of the park, on the N side of the estuary, is like.


  1. I'm still with you. The weather is no better here at the moment, but I do keep taking advantage of short weather windows. You seem to have been out there a long tim; If you stay until 27th March you would return to British Summer Time - sounds like a good plan?

  2. That sounds an excellent plan, but our return ticket is booked for the 3rd and we're off to a TGOC reunion on the 4th.

  3. That sounds an excellent plan, but our return ticket is booked for the 3rd and we're off to a TGOC reunion on the 4th.