Dry Stone Route, GR221 Pt 1

GR221 Dry Stone Route with Mallorca HikingToday we continue our description of Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, which connects the SW of the island at Port Andratx to the NE at Pollensa. We’ll cover the early stages in this post and also let you know which sections are currently not open or are under construction.

The Dry Stone Route or GR221 has eight distinct stages, each with it’s own designated Refuge (not all of which are completed yet). The route passes through the Tramuntana mountains, crossing the island from west to east.

This well-known long-distance path was created by combining many routes, some dating back to the Arab occupation of Mallorca from around 900 AD. These ancient paths had many uses: connections between villages; commercial routes for bringing products to markets; entrances to watch towers to protect against pirates; access to the mountains for the charcoal and lime burners deep in the forests, the snow makers…

Many of these paths suffered significantly over the last sixty-odd years, mainly through erosion and neglect as a result of a change of use of the land, from farming to tourism. Recently however, there have been many initiatives to restore sections of the route, and a considerable amount has been invested in new signage and way-marking. Other problems that have arisen involve rights of access through private land, and although there have been efforts to resolve these amicably between the Consell of Mallorca and the landowners, there has been little success to date. The next stage is to resort to European law to resolve these rights of public access.

The eight sections of the walk are:

Stage 1 Port d’Andratx-la Trapa Stage 2 La Trapa-Estellencs Stage 3 Estellencs-Esporles

Stage 4 Esporles-Can Boi, Deia   Stage 5 Can Boi-Muleta, Port of Soller Stage 6 Muleta-Tossals Verds

Stage 7 Tossals Verds-Son Amer, Lluc Stage 8 Son Amer-Pollença

Since the end of 2010 the Dry Stone Route has been well way-marked from Deià to Pollença with 5 mountain “refuges” also functioning and looking after grateful walkers. In the southern section of the route Coll des Pi; Estellencs; Banyalbufar; Esporles and Coll de sa Basseta are also way-marked.

Let’s clarify in a little more detail now, exactly which sections are open and accessible, and which provide full way-marking. We don’t want you disappearing into the Mallorcan wilderness – although of course another option would be to use the services of a guide with Mallorca Hiking to make sure you stay on the right track!

In this post we will focus on stages 1 to 3: Port d’Andratx to Esporles. These first sections are a bit problematic – they are not well marked – if at all – and several sections cross private property, the rights for some of which are disputed, so the route has been diverted.

Monastry at Sa Trapa Mallorca HikingStage 1:   The first part of the route from Port Andratx is not very well marked but it is accessible. There are restoration works currently underway at the old monastery of La Trapa to create a mountain refuge.

Coll de Sa Gremola Walking Mallorca

Stage 2:   Between La Trapa and Coll de sa Gramola there is no way-marking. Again the route covers private property, but access is permitted.

From Coll de sa Gramola to Coma d’en Vidal, there are again no way-marks. The route here follows the Andratx- Estellencs (Ma-10) to the Pla de s’Evangèlica. The trail then crosses the mountainous area of S’Esclop to Coma d’en Vidal where there are plans to construct a further refuge.

Watch Tower Estellencs Walking MallorcaStage 3: From Coma d’en Vidal to Estellencs, again there are no way-marks. However, there is good news from Estellencs through Banyalbufar to Esporles – this section is fully way-marked. When the trail reaches Es Rafal, between Estellencs and Banyalbufar (a disputed right of way) it has been diverted.

There are no confirmed dates as to when signage will be completed for the sections without (as described above) – so if you are not a confident route-finder we advise you to walk this section with a guide.

To give you a flavour of the scenery and surroundings for these first sections of the Dry Stone Route – the first official walk for our new resident’s Mallorca Hiking Club recently completed the Old Postman’s Route. This runs between Esporles and Bunyalbufar, which makes up part of the third stage of the GR221. You can see lots of photographs from members on our Facebook Page. And there is also a superb short video on our YouTube Channel.

This is a beautiful part of the island and hopefully the full route will be clearly marked soon to allow the complete trek from one end of the island to the other.  Next week we’ll cover the area between stages 4 to 6 – in the meantime happy hiking!

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