The Coastal Way

Stage 5: Casquita - La Pola Siero

22-kilometer stage that runs through the councils of Villaviciosa, Sariego and Siero, being the first of the two that allow linking the Coastal Road with the Asturian capital, Oviedo, and from there with the Camino Primitivo. Starting from the small village of Casquita, where the road bifurcation between this option and the one that goes to Gijón/Xixón, the route passes through a large number of small villages, such as Camoca, Castiellu, Ambás, Arbazal, Figares, Barbecho or La Torre, in all of which it is possible to have abundant granaries and bread baskets. It is also possible to contemplate good examples of religious architecture, for example in the churches of Camoca or Ambás, highlighting the church of Arbazal, an excellent example of Renaissance architecture that has preserved a small chapel from the pre-Romanesque period.

The first half of the route is clearly ascending, and in the first seven kilometers of the route a gap of 350 meters must be saved, between Casquita and Alto de la Campa, dividing the councils of Villaviciosa and Sariego. It is, however, a very steep ascent, which, except in very specific moments, does not imply having to travel up steep slopes. On this ascent to La Campa, the ascent between Ambás and Arbazal is particularly interesting, for the most part along a narrow path surrounded by vegetation that ascends parallel to the regional road, allowing the monastery of Santa María de Valdediós to be contemplated from above, at the bottom of the valley of the same name, as well as excellent panoramic views of the council of Villaviciosa, with its estuary in the background.

The second half of the stage, after passing the La Campa peak, is practically flat, crossing gentle valleys through the municipalities of Sariego and Siero.

This stage runs predominantly on asphalt pavement, along the shoulders of regional and local roads, with only three kilometers that can still be covered on dirt or gravel paths.

The main documentary references to the passage of pilgrims through this area are linked to the nearby monastery of Valdediós, where it is recorded that there were many pilgrims who found accommodation and attention, although the main route of the Camino through this area does not currently pass through this monastery but through the town of Arbazal, at a higher altitude, in a prominent point of the most logical ascent to the top of La Campa. The passage of the Camino through Arbazal has documentary evidence and, in addition, it is certified by the existence in this town, next to the church, of a large pilgrim hospital, called Mesón de los Cistercienses, founded by the monks of Valdediós in the century XVIII. Other references to the passage of pilgrims are in relation to the church of San Pedro de Ambás, which had a highly venerated image of the Virgin of the Rosary. Finally, La Pola Siero, the end of the stage, emerged as a town in 1270 around an important pilgrim hospital, first called San Pedro de los Albergues and then San Fabián and San Sebastián, in use until the middle of the 19th century. .

Stage description

A few meters after passing the chapel of San Blas, in the town of Casquita, there is a fork in the Camino de Santiago. Head-on, on the road? We continue towards Gijón/Xixón, while taking the path to the left we follow the route towards Oviedo. This chapter describes the journey to the Asturian capital, which will be reached after completing two stages.

Taking the detour to the left, continue along the local road VV10, which begins at the confluence with the road that leaves for Gijón/Xixón, between a house from the middle of the 20th century located at the bifurcation of routes and the building of a cider company . Continue along the shoulder of the road, descending to a stone bridge, with a single arch, which crosses the Valdediós river, after which you reach the El Ronzón neighborhood.

The landscape is of meadows, with some isolated house, contemplating to the right a nucleus of houses formed in a row along the top of a small hill. When it reaches a steep curve that takes an upward direction to the right, the Jacobean route deviates for a short space from the road, first running along a concrete track, which leads upwards to a group formed by two buildings, in the so-called Cuesta Valle.

CUESTA VALLE BUILDING SHEET

When we go up the hill, we find an elongated building, which in one of its short facades has ventilation and lighting holes designed in the form of loopholes delimited by stone blocks, which denotes a certain antiquity. Further on is the building of a mansion, of classicist composition, dating back to the 18th century. In front of the two buildings, on the right as you go up the Camino de Santiago, it connects with a dirt track that has to be taken, and that after just 85 meters of steep ascent, leads back to the local road, along which shoulder continues to the left. We enter an area with wide views from the Camino, which allows us to contemplate to the left a landscape of valleys and lands dedicated to cattle pastures. Soon you will reach the center of Camoca de Abajo, which you cross following the route of the local road VV10.

The church of San Juan is left on the left, which, still very modified, still preserves remains of the original Romanesque building from the 13th century. This church can be accessed by deviating just 200 meters from the route.

As it passes through Camoca de Abajo, the Camino crosses the neighborhoods of La Fontana and El Campu (from where you can take the detour to the parish church). After the crossroads towards the church, where the route continues along the road that continues to the right, you come to another crossroads where you also take the path to the right, ascending, already in Camoca de Arriba, along the road local between houses and some granaries, to the neighborhood of El Pulu Riva, leaving shortly after to the right the detour towards the centers of El Llanu, El Traviesu and Taloca, which is not taken.

Continue straight ahead, ascending the shoulder of the road, and you can see to the left, at the bottom of the slope, other neighborhoods of the parish of Camoca, rich in its ethnographic heritage, especially its granaries and bread baskets. You come to a heart in which several houses and some granaries are concentrated, and in which there is a bifurcation of roads, continuing the route straight ahead, in the direction of La Vega and La Riega, along a local road. Continue along the same, between meadows, until you reach the neighborhood of La Cruz, where after leaving several isolated houses on the right, a descent begins, still along the road, which leads to a valley bottom, where There is a granary on the left, a house with a wooden corridor on the upper floor, on the right, and the detour, also on the right, towards El Valle.

We continue straight ahead, now ascending again, along the local road, which in the first meters of ascent is boxed in between high slopes of earth, which little by little give way to a more open landscape, between meadows and some isolated houses, that after just over 600 meters leads to a new neighborhood, called Castiellu, in the parish of Ambás, and to an area of convergence of different paths, which make up an open area in the center of which there is a small resting point, with a table and benches made of wood, and from which you can see, from the front, a large house with a chapel, the Casona dela Coroya.

At this junction there is the option of taking a path that, following straight ahead in the direction in which the Camino de Santiago came, leads to the monastery of Santa María de Valdediós, one of the great monumental complexes of Asturias, in which a great Romanesque monastery with the spectacular church of San Salvador, known as the Conventín, and which is the great jewel of the final period of Asturian Pre-Romanesque, promoted directly by King Alfonso III and that still impresses by the slenderness of its dimensions, the remains of mural paintings preserved inside and for its location in a paradisiacal natural environment. Many were the pilgrims who during the Middle and Modern Ages went to Valdediós in search of accommodation and meals, but the official Camino de Santiago runs a route that from this bifurcation of roads leads to the town of Arbazal, following the most logical itinerary for ascend to the top of La Campa, which marks the dividing line between the municipalities of Villaviciosa and Sariego.

Continuing, then, along the road that continues to the left at the crossroads, the Camino passes in front of several agricultural buildings and some granaries, and continues along the local road, first descending and then ascending to the small neighborhood of La Brimera, just 400 meters after the detour, from where you continue a few meters along the cart until you join a concrete track that, in a steep ascent between trees and meadows, reaches a height where a few houses are located, in a An area significantly known as La Venta, then starting a more pronounced ascent that will lead you back to the local road, leaving the Ambás cemetery on the left, and continuing to the right, towards the field of the church of San Pedro of Ambás.

The church is surrounded by a green space delimited by a wall. In its vicinity there was a sale to provide service to travelers.

The church of Ambás is located at a crossroads, having to continue straight ahead, along the autonomous highway AS-113, towards the nucleus of San Pedro de Ambás, which is reached a few meters later.

In this town of San Pedro de Ambás, the Camino deviates from the AS-113 road, taking a concrete track that starts, ascending, to the left of the road, and continues for just over 300 meters, The route runs through the Villabona neighborhood, between houses, granaries (some of them with decorative carvings on the doors) and meadows, never losing sight of the road to the right, and more houses that are developed next to it.

It continues like this until reaching a point where the concrete path connects with the road, although the Jacobean route continues straight ahead, along a route parallel to the road and that after three hundred becomes a dirt and stone path, which It leaves behind the last houses of the Lloses neighborhood, plunging fully into an increasingly natural environment, narrowing its surface and eventually running through an authentic forest, with exuberant vegetation on both sides of the path, reaching the configuration in some sections authentic galleries of vegetation under which the Camino will run, on the side of the Les Felgueres peak. Shortly after passing a path, you come to a fork in the road, in a curve, where you must take the road to the left.

In certain areas the path will be flanked by stone walls delimiting plots, being in other areas the bushes and trees that border the Path.

This green path in which the Camino de Santiago has become at this point lasts for approximately two kilometers, between trees, meadows, with an ascending slope, parallel to a level higher than the regional road, which is barely perceptible due to to the lush vegetation that stands between both roads. As you ascend, you will begin to glimpse, on the right, wide panoramic views of the Boiges valley, which will allow you to contemplate from the top of the great monumental complex that makes up the Valdediós monastery. The green path will reach a high area, where the vegetation will stop made up of low scrub and heather, and from which the most impressive will be the wide visual perspectives on the bottom of the valley where Valdediós sits.

After two kilometers, you come to a wide track that goes down to the right to the town of Arbazal, which you cross. This town is already mentioned in the documentation of the thirteenth century as an important enclave of the royal road through which the Jacobean path runs.

At the first crossroads at the entrance of the town, take the one on the right, which, flanked by houses, ends up converging on the public space that opens in front of the church of San Salvador de Arbazal, with the old building on the right. Shelter ordered to be built by the monks of Valdediós to attend and give service to the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago.

The Camino borders the church, passing next to the building attached to it, which currently serves as a sacristy and was actually the first cult building erected in this place, in pre-Romanesque times. In Arbazal there are good examples of traditional Asturian architecture, especially granaries and bread baskets, also highlighting the small construction located in front of the church, on whose facade there is a beautiful sundial and which presents interesting carvings in the wood of the shutters of the upstairs.

After passing the church, continue along a concrete path, flanked by stone walls, which ascends a steep incline for a short distance, then flattening along a path that runs between bushes, some trees and low stone walls, making a route largely parallel, but higher, to that of the AS-113 regional road, which is to the right of the Camino. After continuing to the right in a curve where there is a fork in the routes, the Jacobean path passes through the last foothills of the valley, which is on the right and from which it is possible to see the monastery of Valdediós for the last time, under.

In this way it continues, more or less flattening, to the nucleus of La Campa, on the dividing line between the municipalities of Villaviciosa and Sariego.

Before reaching the first houses in the town, the Camino leads to a local road, which continues to the right, until it almost connects with the regional road, in front of a gas station. The meeting does not take place, the Way making an almost 180º turn to continue then, in parallel with the road, along the Caleya de La Campa, a paved track that continues between houses and some granaries until reaching the regional road, crossing it towards a concrete path, the Camín del Monte, which is followed. Shortly after, the first detour is taken to the left, along a dirt and stone track that flattens among vegetation, some isolated dwelling (the first one that is observed, shortly after taking the path, to the left, consisting of a stone construction with an open patio attached) and with wide views to the left of the Sariego valley, the Camino running through an area of very evocative place names, such as Los Malatos or El Fielatu.

This path continues, more or less parallel to the AS113 road for about 700 meters, until it ends at the regional road, along whose shoulder you continue for a little less than 150 meters until you take a detour to the left that leads, descending, to the town of Figares. A large bread basket, to the right of the road, welcomes the town, which is crossed by following the so-called Camino de Figares, flanked by houses, granaries and some large bread baskets.

After leaving Figares behind, you continue for about 275 meters along the shoulder of the local road, until when you reach a curve you take the detour to the right, along the so-called Camín de la Platería. Leaving behind a first single-family house of recent construction, we continue along a dirt and stone track, which in a small intermediate section will be concreted, and which runs between meadows and some isolated construction. This path leads to the local road SR1 and to the town of Pedrosa, which is crossed following the itinerary of the road, leaving the fountain-washhouse on the left, as well as some granary and bread basket.

Leaving Pedrosa behind, you continue along the local road until you reach a road intersection, where you continue on the one on the left, the so-called Camín de La Carcabá, along which you continue for about 340 meters until you reach the local highway , in front of a strip of buildings. Continue for a few meters to the left, along the shoulder of the road, until shortly after you cross and continue along the local road SR1 heading towards the capital of the council, Vega de Sariego. At this crossroads there is a two-story house, with a striking gallery on the upper floor. In its first meters, the local road is flanked by stone walls, later giving way to meadows. A few meters later, on the left hand side, is the Pozu Saláu fountain, continuing straight ahead at the crossroads with the Camín a la Cuesta.

Then a small ascent begins, still on the SR1 road, up to Vega.

DEVIATION CHURCH SANTIAGO BEFORE LA VEGA

The road crosses the municipal capital from east to west, passing next to the Carmen chapel, on the right, behind which the house of culture is located.

Continue straight ahead and leave the town, continuing along the shoulder of the SR1 road, which after about 800 meters leads to a pass under the Cantabrian highway. You cross and then ascend towards the town of Barbechu, continuing the route along the local road.

On both sides of this town there are numerous granaries and bread baskets, as well as a laundry room. Continue straight ahead at the crossroads with the road to the Romanesque church of Narzana, which you pass on the right hand side (and which after about a kilometer leads to this interesting temple), and ends at a crossroads, with a industry on the left (Vigil feed mill).

Continue straight ahead, along the road that continues towards Aramanti and Castañera, passing through La Torre. You pass a laundry room on the right and go through an area where there is a shoulder separated from the road, with the floor made of wooden sleepers. After this area, continue straight ahead and reach the Vega to El Romeru road, which after approximately half a kilometer leads to the town of Aramanti, continuing along the road, leaving the Camín de La Viona on the right that leads to Castañera. At this point it is possible to see the Peña Careses on the right for the first time.

Continue along the road, flanked by houses and a meadow, until reaching, after crossing the Seco river by a concrete bridge, the town of El Castru, on the border between the municipalities of Sariego and Siero. At this point there is an alternative pedestrian detour, enabled by the Siero City Council, which allows most of the route to be carried out to Pola de Siero on the side of the AS331 road, the old royal road.

The official path continues along the shoulder of the AS331 road until it reaches the capital of Siere. You pass through the places (belonging to the Vega de Poja parish) of Aveno, Careses, El Llugarín and El Rayu, along a road sometimes flanked by a house but that for the most part runs through a natural environment, surrounded by meadows , forest patches and the Recuna river. At Vega de Poja you can see, to the left, the monumental complex formed by the Chapel of Santa Lucía and the Palace of the Argüelles, while in El Llugarín it is possible to take, to the right, a detour that leads to the Romanesque church of San Martín de Vega de Poja. INDICATE DEVIATION METERS

CERAMIC SHEET EL RAYU

After about 5 kilometers, the road reaches the municipal swimming pools of La Pola Siero. At this point the road is crossed, at a point where, on the right hand side of the road, the old boundary marker remains. Continue to the right, through the area of El Rebollar and the old Venta de la Uña (where the La Pola horse market was traditionally held), soon arriving at La Rienda park and descending through San Antonio street, to the Plaza de Argüelles, in the historic center of La Pola and the end of this stage. The link between La Pola and the Camino de Santiago is complete, and it can be said that the capital of Siere was born as a hostel or hospital for pilgrims, in 1141, around which population settled, which determined its growing strength, confirmed in 1270 with the concession to the town of the Puebla Letter by Alfonso X El Sabio.

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