In Asturias it will be difficult for us to come across a windmill. Due to its geographical configuration, an important milling industry was developed in the Principality taking advantage of the hundreds of streams of water that circulate in the region. The substitution of the human force for hydraulics occurred in the Middle Ages, since then the Asturian geography begins to be covered with small mills that take advantage of the energy of the rivers to grind the cereals. The production of these mills increased from the seventeenth century thanks to the extension of the cultivation of corn, from America.
In each rural nucleus where there was a river or water, there was a miller who milled for all the neighbors in exchange for a part of the milling. In them also the neighbors of the town met to "conceyu". The fact of being a reference for the economy of the community, as well as a shelter always hidden and crouched between the river banks, turned the mills into legend object, especially in the matter of rumors about love affairs and sinful goings-on that took place inside.
All this ethnographic and cultural wealth of the water mills in Asturias is perfectly represented in the Route of the Profundu, in the council of Villaviciosa. A dark but very beautiful path that runs parallel to the river. In our walk we will observe the locations of the old mills, granting merit and meaning to an activity that fed entire towns. Throughout our tour we will discover a total of 19 mills, some of them in ruins, others in semiruina and some other in good condition.
The Profundu Route: Where does it start?
The Route of the Molinos del Ríu Profundu it starts in the neighborhood of Buslaz (in Breceña, Villaviciosa) to Valbúcar, (Amandi, Villaviciosa), although you can also choose to go up the river and make the opposite way: from Valbúcar to Buslaz. Is about 7,4 kilometers to walk through lush vegetation. In total some 3 hours of walking, only one way. So the best thing is usually that someone comes to find us with your vehicle at the end of the path, either in Buslaz or in Valbúcar. If we start from this last place, shortly before reaching a well-known farm, La Finca de la Vega, we will take a path that starts from the same road and in the initial section an explanatory panel of the route is raised. We walked along the path bordering this farm until we reached the riverbed. Nearby you can see the first of the mills: El Molín de Griselda. Then we will go closer to the neighborhoods of Les Veges and Villaverde, where we will see the Molín de Villaverde. At this point the path ends and we exit to a paved road through which we have to travel some 400 meters before finding a black hatch that brings us back to the path. We will continue up the river to the Molin del Profundu. Of which only its four walls remain.
From this point the road takes an ascending sense. We will see the remains of Molin de Trabanco, the only one of the route that had an annexed house, then the Molin del Pitu. In the area of the parish of Coru We reach the remains of Molín de Joé Xico and a few meters from this we find the Molín de la Perea.
After leaving behind these last mills we come to an open area of meadows, we will always be stuck to the river bed until we reach a forest area and we will find the ruins of the mills of Perniles yd'Arriba. Meters later we will cross the riverbed by a footbridge of concrete that leads us to a forest track and a second area of meadows. At this point we will take the track to the left and we will border the valley. Further ahead we find ourselves with a bifurcation. Here we will take the road on the right until we reach the remains of Molín de Pascual. For a flat section that runs partly through the old channel of this mill we will reach a new fork where the Molín de Lalón is located. We take the ascending path to the right until Molín de La Ullina. We climb some old stairs, we cross a forest of poplars that will take us to the unique scenario of Molín de la Peña and its waterfall. We continue along the path that climbs the left bank of the waterfall on the way to Molín del Esprón. From here, and after crossing a new pasture area, we come to another forest area in which we will see the mills of Rea, Peruya, Rosicu and d'Arriba, with very little distance between them. The Molín d'Arriba is the mill that is in the best state of conservation of the entire route.
Finally we will continue up the river until we reach a track that will take us, after an ascent of one kilometer, to the town of Buslaz.
In our walk, in addition to the landscape and the ethnographic manifestation that make up the 19 mills, we can enjoy the attractions of riverside parishes through which the river runs: Breceña, Coru, Lugás, Fuentes, Amandi.
The Route is located well marked and preserved. On the same there are brochures of tourist type of free distribution and a Guide, more detailed, fruit of the investigation of the young local chronicler Rafael Balbín.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestFor those who want to know the components of water mills we detail its components:
"Channel": Part by which the river water is diverted, which runs higher than the river bed to reach the mill with sufficient pressure.
"Cubu": In it enough water accumulates for the mill to work when the flow of the river is not enough.
"Grid": A wooden or metal grate that works as a filter so that the water arrives without impurities.
"Salibu": The bottom of the "cubu" is inclined and in its lower part there is the "salibu", spit through which the water enters the interior of the mill.
"Rodeznu": Vertical axis impeller on which the water falls directly. Turning puts the rest of the parts mechanism into operation.
"Paladoria": Used to regulate the operation from inside the mill. The "salibu" causes the "paladoria" to open and close.
"Tree": Trunk of carved wood in which the "rodeznu" is embedded and produces the rotating movement.
"Cross-piece": Encased in the upper part of the "tree" there is a bar that serves as axis, and in its upper part is the "crosspiece", which is a piece of iron that fits into the "gueyu" of the "floating wheel", the which regulates the distance to the fixed wheel and therefore the thickness of the flour.
"Bulsa": Located under the crosspiece, prevents the fall of grain to the bottom of the mill.
"Drum": Wooden cover that covers the molars. Next to the "bombo" is the "merendal" or "masera", wooden container where the "Moxeca" flour is deposited.
"Tarabica": Small rod that with the vibrations of the mill makes the grain fall slowly in the "gueyu".
Every so often it was necessary to "chop" the wheel of the mill, because it was becoming smooth and did not grind the grain well. It was a job that required great patience and great know-how.