The rural area of Espinaréu (in the council of Piloña), is quite a living treasure of other times. Its antiquity is attested mainly by the granaries that proliferate in each corner. These agrarian constructions are an ancient ingenuity that served to store harvests and slaughtering meat and put food sustenance safely. That's why they were built on high, supported on four pillars or pegoyos, to avoid humidity and achieve the precise temperature, preventing at the same time that rodents or vermin would end up with stocks.
The granaries were part of the Asturian landscape due to the inevitable human adaptation to a hostile and humid environment. If you travel through Asturias, you will see that the granaries exist. They abound, more or less. However, in most cases they exist as a mere scattered exception and with low density. In some rural areas, this exception is not even observed. On the other hand, being exceptional, they usually survive ruined and sterile, and in many cases they barely fulfill another role than that of sheltering tools, vehicles, or cars of the country under their structure.
What is a hórreo? What is it for?
Based on seeing hórreo after hórreo we understand that the villages were territories full of life and ingenuity, and we confirm with the sight that in this village the highest concentration of hórreos of all the Eastern zone of Asturias.
Currently the granaries serve other tasks, or none in particular. Only on the outside it is appreciated that they still fulfill the function for which they were created, and it is not uncommon to see them adorned with onions, garlic and other less perishable garden products. In this sense, the current refrigerators and freezers have relegated the hórreo to an almost romantic role.
In Espinaréu, as if time had not passed, these constructions seem to want to tell us that they are still alive. Not in vain, have reasons to be haughty, because in this town they are the oldest constructions of this type in Asturias. If we wish, we will have the opportunity to see one inside, taking into account that all granaries have an owner and are locked, so to access them it is necessary to ask for permission.
The granaries of Espinaréu, as in the rest of Asturias, also keep a mystical essence, or superstitious if you prefer. The ethnographic heritage of the village is rounded off with the mystic-magical signs inscribed on its tables. Persuasive elements, in many cases to ward off evil spirits, of basically Celtic origin that were drawn or carved, primitively, in forests and caves. These symbols coexist with other merely ornamental and commemorative that are the brands of the carpenter builder, and with a good number of messages and generational slogans subject to the interpretation and analysis of the most curious.
Granaries ... and bread baskets in Espinaredo
In Espinaréu hórreos and paneras coexist, these last ones are very similar to the first ones but of greater capacity, with six pegoyos instead of four, corridor, balustrade and greater number of ornaments. Both types of constructions were made mainly in chestnut wood and their pieces were joined without a single nail, using wedges from the wood itself to assemble them.
It is known that hórreos and paneras were vital in a farmhouse and that many times, at least the paneras, were part of the trousseau of the bride. Going back further in time we discover that they have an uncertain origin. Some people maintain that the large wooden boxes carried on wheels to the Roman camps in the campaigns of imperial conquest, predecessors of the current caravans, were often abandoned and taken advantage of by the locals, who placed them on supports to use as storage.
Espinaréu is a good mobile to know the essence of the Asturian countryside, but it is also a magnificent environment to admire even more its landscape. The proximity of the mountain and the native forests allow the practice of hiking as in few places. It is also a very appropriate place for horse riding and mountain biking. The territory is crossed by the rivers Espinaréu and Sotu. In its vicinity we find panels that signal the routes. Just three kilometers from the rural center, along the winding road that leads to Riofabar, we discover two excellent places to rest: recreational area of La Pesanca and the Arboreto de Miera, located on the banks of the Infierno River and inscribed between the Sierra de Aves and La Giblaniella. An enclave fortunate in natural resources, with one of the most extensive spots of beech, oak and chestnut trees of all Asturias.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com