Pinar Del Rey on the Costa del Sol – don’t forget to take a picnic! You will need a car to get to Pinar Del Rey or alternatively there are many lovely guest houses in San Roque itself.
Situated a few km behind San Roque on the western Costa del Sol, the beautiful forest of Pinar del Rey is a great day out for the family.
As you approach San Roque from the east, turn off into San Roque town itself and pass down through it. Once through the town you go over a very small bridge and the road splits left and right.
Take the right turn signposted Pinar del Rey and you will drive for about 10 minutes through wonderful lush meadows with cows and horses grazing, through a couple of cork plantations (you can tell they are cork trees because when they harvest the cork, they strip the trees bare of their bark) and will come to another small bridge quite overshadowed by trees and Pinar del Rey is again signposted right here.
If you pull over right away you will see the Alhaja stream flowing along which is the starting point for one of the four nature trails through the forest and follows the small river’s course through the forest. There is also the drinking fountain which is still a popular source of water for the locals of San Roque.
Carrying on along the road you begin to see areas where you can pull over on the right hand side and park.
As you travel round on the road you do get to a point which is out of bounds for cars. This is the northern area of the forest which is a lot wilder and has two dedicated rambling trails; The Big Ugly Bird Gorge (medium rating) and Eagle’s Hill (medium to high difficulty rating). From here it is sometimes possible to see a group of baboons in the gorge that escaped from the old Alcaidesa safari park.
Back to the southern area of the forest and you will see there are many areas around here that are dedicated to picnics although you are not encouraged to light any fires here (for obvious reasons).
There are many tracks and pathways through the forest and it is abundant with indigenous flora and fauna. Keeping your eyes to the ground you will see, in the spring time, beautiful flowers and in the autumn toadstools and mushrooms of every variety. The ground here is surprisingly sandy and because of this the toadstools seem to flourish and are bigger than you could imagine. We saw puffballs the size of softballs and other magnificent specimens.
The Pinar del Rey forest has a Nature Centre and from here you can see from the information point, where the trails go and what kind of nature you can expect to encounter as you stroll through the forest.
High in the sky you will often see eagles and buzzards circling over head, down on the ground you will marvel at the dung beetles going about their business.
Pinar del Rey really is a great day out for all the family.