This route through the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a World Heritage site, beckons you to discover the last five centuries of the history of this cultural landscape. From 1732 to 1845, a Catalan-style forge operated in the upper part of the valley. At that time, shepherds, farmers, charcoal-burners, muleteers and forge-workers shared a common space. Identifying the material evidence they left behind helps us to understand how different valley resources were exploited and how they evolved.
The iron industry route in the Madriu valley is circular, starting and ending in the same place and following several traditional paths. It lasts about 6 hours, with a total distance of 13 km (upward elevation change of 500m) or 10 km (650m elevation change), depending on whether you set off from the Fonts or Font de la Closa trail carpark. It is not technically difficult but we recommend basic fitness. You can download a guide showing the route and describing the landscape.
As you climb Obac d’Engolasters and Solanet de Ràmio, you will cross the last areas of charcoal production used by the forge. Here, you can see the remains of some of the sites where wood was turned into charcoal. On the opposite side, across the river, from the top of the Madriu as far as the upper section of Perafita-Claror and Coll de l’Astrell, stretch the remains of the woods that fed the forge before being used by the sawmills to provide the country with timber (19th and 20th centuries).
Higher up, around Prat de la Paleta, at almost 2,000 m, you will find yourself in the centre of the production area, the site of the furnace that produced raw iron and the hammer that beat it into ingots. Leaving here to head back, you will pass along the path marked out at the end of the 18th century to export the metal for distribution throughout Catalonia. Collet de l’Infern and Fontverd are a couple of the places where the concentration of various identifiable archaeological structures in one place illustrate how the charcoal burners, shepherds, farmers and loggers modelled the landscape, through their particular manner of exploiting resources.
Starting point "Camí font de la Closa"
Starting point "Camí de les fonts"
Les Fonts Parking
Schedules and prices
Services and facilities
- Conference room
- Ticket office / locker
- Rest areas
- Adapted access
- Adapted itinerary
- Parking for motorhomes
Vall del Madriu·Perafita·Claror