Guide to El Madroño, smallest municipality in Seville province, Andalucia
El Madroño is the smallest municipality in Seville with a population of only 376 (2006). It is situated in the western part of the province of Seville, near the border with Huelva province. It takes its name from the huge numbers of ‘Strawberry Trees’, (Madroño – Arbutus enedo), grown in the area.
El Madroño is a relatively new municipality, having been formed in 1921 by combining the hamlets of La Villa de Madroño, El Alamo, Juan Anton, Juan Gallego and Villagordo. It sits in a valley at the southern end of the Ruta de la Plata.
During the Imperial Roman period the road was built between Seville and Gijón , a port on the Bay of Biscay in Asturias. It followed an existing droving route and it’s purpose was to transport merchandise and move troops. Contrary to popular belief, the Ruta de la Plata has nothing to do with silver, its name derives from the Latin ‘platea’, which means ‘wide road’. Today the A66 follows the same route.
Scenic walk del Jarama
Since the Moorish period the Ruta de la Plata has been used by pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela, the alleged burial site of St. James the apostle.
In 2004 a fire devasted the area. One tree to survive in El Madroño was an ancient holm oak. This venerable tree over 8 metres in circumference at the base is used by local couples who propose to each other beneath its branches. In 2005 the tree was elevated to the status of a National Monument.
Just over the border into Huelva are the megalithic dolmens of El Gallego – Hornueco. Associated with the dolmens are a number of Neolithic settlements, one of which, a cave shelter, El Riscal, is just in the municipality of El Madroño. On the rock surfaces of El Riscal, Neolithic people carved out a series of petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are very rare in Seville province. The El Riscal set include spirals, concentric circles, cones, anthropomorphic figures and hands.