The copper-bronze forest, autumn magic

Autumn is beautiful in Malaga but themost spectacular impressions of this season are to be seen in what is known as the Bosque de Cobre or Coppery Forest in the Serrania de Ronda mountains. In the Genal Valley and the Sierra de las Nieves the myriad chestnut trees covering the hillsides will enthrall you with the spectrum of browns, yellows and ochres of the leaves as they fall from the trees and cover roads and paths. An inland marvel of our province that invites us to visit,  camera in hand to capture its beauty  in a frame.

Coinciding with the annual chestnut harvest that takes place in October we can make the most of the journey and visit some of the inland villages where traditionally harvesting this fruit has been very important. Alpandeire, Benadalid, Benalauria, Cartajima, Farajan, Genalguacil, Igualeja, Jubrique, Juzcar, Parauta, Pujerra o Yunquera are some of these  villages situated in a landscape of valleys, streams and rivers among the high-altitude chestnut woods . The picture-postcard views of the area invite us to walk among them.

There are hidden treasures to discover among the trees as well. Do not miss the ancient tree called Castaño Santo purported to be nearly a thousand years old. You will find in the Hoyo del Bote in Istan and it is considered  the oldest tree in the province of Malaga, rising to a majestic 25 metres high. There are also examples of the rare pinsapo or Spanish fir around Yunquera and a walk among them should be marked on your diary at this season.

Visiting all the corners of this beautiful area is easy thanks to the roads and paths that invite us to enjoy the natural marvels it comprises. One of these is La Ruta de la Castaña in the Serrania de Ronda that connects Igualeja, Cartajima, Juzcar, Parauta and Pujerra along 22 kilometres and offers attractive autumn prospects of the local vegetation. There are also other routes from Ronda to Jimena de Libar via Montejaque and Benaojan or through Benalauria, Benarraba or Alpandeire.

There are also great view points along the routes to stop, rest a while and contemplate the breathtaking views. Los Riscos en Cartajima is one of them from where we can see karstic cave formations, the Genal Valley in Alpandeire or Los Castaañares in Benadalid for a bird’s eye view of the almond  orchards.

The fruits of these trees are the reason for celebrations in the Bosque de Cobre villages. Pujerra has a chestnut festival with the traditional roasting and special dishes and Yunquera celebrates its chestnut and wine festival with tastings, handicraft stalls and live music.