Brañas de Sar is a space covering 33 hectares that forms part of the Sar River basin. The walk goes from the swimming pools and Fontes do Sar Multi-Purpose Stadium to Pontepedriña, framed by the Viso Gaiás and Santas Mariñas hills to the east and the cityscape to the west, along with the railway line.
The 4-kilometre-long walk surrounded by the city and hills takes you through rural Santiago, featuring fields of crops, hillside terraces, waterwheels, irrigation channels and a riverside forest, passing by the beautiful Collegiate Church of Sar, the “Camino Real” and the Romanesque bridge before reaching Eugenio Granell Park.
In Galicia, “brañas” refer to partially flooded areas located beside rivers. They are green all year round and were used in the past as pastureland for Galician smallholders’ cattle. They are fragile ecosystems that play an essential water-regulating role, since they retain water during heavy rains and prevent flooding by slowing down its release back into the river.
These “brañas” were a populated area until the 1960s. The Sar River was Compostela’s beach. Young and old would bathe in its natural pools and picnic on its banks. Others did their washing, worked the land or made use of its waterwheels for milling. This ethnographic ensemble still features five waterwheels and a system of channels, walls, washing places and weirs that regulate the water, in addition to paths, stairs and stone bridges.
The following are some of the walk’s monuments and points of interest:
-The 22-metre-long Romanesque bridge of Sar, part of Sar’s Roman road and the entryway for pilgrims travelling along the “Vía de la Plata” Route to Santiago. This road entered the walled city through the Mazarelos Gate or Mámoa Gate.
-Chapel dedicated to St. Blas at the entrance to the Collegiate Church.
-Chapel of Santas Mariñas, on the hill of the same name, with a single nave and a façade featuring a belfry. It only opens on July 18 to celebrate the saint’s feast day.
-Cruceiro de Sar (stone cross): Located at the crossroads on the way to Aríns and Angrois, it is about 4 metres tall (including the base) and features statues of Our Lady and Christ.
In relation to vegetation, there is an abundance of pastureland, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. The plots of farmland (called “agras”) are located on the hillside. Areas of riverside woodland, featuring birches, alders, willows, elders, ash trees, laurels, oaks, lilies and numerous herbaceous species, line the river and channels.
Brañas de Sar provides refuge and food for several species of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. You can find otters, hedgehogs, moles, shrews, hares, squirrels, dormice, genets, stoats, foxes, bats, mallards, herons, slowworms, collar and water cobras, vipers, lizards, newts, salamanders, toads, frogs and numerous birds such as eagles, falcons, sparrowhawks and barn owls.
+INFO: Santiago’s riverside parks
Total distance: 4,418 m
Maximum height: 286 m
Minimum height: 251 m
Total ascension: 452 m
Total descension: -473 m
Total time: 00:42:54
Bus: A total of seven city bus routes will take you to Brañas de Sar, from Pontepedriña, Puente de Sar or Fontiñas, Avenida de Lugo and Multiusos de Sar (stadium). You can use the following routes:No. 7: Calle de Valle Inclán/ArínsNo. 9: Casa Novas/Viso/Multiusos (stadium)/“Ciudad de la Cultura” (City of Culture)No. 12: Los Tilos/HospitalsNo. C2: Bus Station/Fontiñas/Hospitals/Vite/Bus StationNo. C4: Bus Station/Vite/Hospitals/Fontiñas/Bus StationNo. C11: Circular de FontiñasNo. P3: Calle de Valle Inclán/Santa Lucía/A Pajuela
Parking: In the north area, you can park at the Multiusos de Sar stadium; to begin the visit from the south, you can use the free Pontepedriña carpark.