The facilities of the Matrix Brotherhood of Almonte (El Rocio, Almonte) have hosted this Wednesday the first meeting of the technical committee of town halls of the new project called ‘Camino del Rocío to Santiago de Compostela’, in which the president of the Huelva Provincial Council, María Eugenia Limón, participated; the president of the Mother Brotherhood of Our Lady of Rocío de Almonte, Santiago Padilla; the councilor of El Rocío of the Almonte City Council, Macarena Robles; representatives of the municipalities of the Camino, as well as members of the Association of Friends of the Camino del Rocío to Santiago, the Andalusian and Spanish Federation of Caminos de Santiago and the Association of Friends of the Camino Sur, Huelva – Zafra.
This is the first meeting in which the municipalities of the Way participate, which are Almonte, Bollullos Par del Condado, Villalba, Paterna del Campo, Escacena del Campo, Berrocal, Nerva, La Granada de Riotinto, Valdezufre, Puerto Moral, Corteconcepción and Cañaveral de León, in order to inform you at what point is the processing of the project to get the road official and make it a reality.
Before starting the meeting, the first signage of the Camino -a tile with the arrows indicating the route- located at the entrance to the Ermita del Rocío. Both this and the rest of the Camino signaling tiles that are being placed in each municipality have been financed by the Diputación, after the commitment of its president, M.ª Eugenia Limón, with the Association of Friends of the Camino del Rocío to Santiago, promoter of the project.
After the inauguration, the attendees went to the offices of the Almonte Mother Brotherhood to begin the meeting, where the president of the provincial institution wanted to thank “the enormous effort and great enthusiasm put forth by the Association of Friends of the Camino del Rocío to Santiago de Compostela so that this project -initiated by a group of rocieros in order to carry out this path on horseback- is official and manages to unite two great points of devotion and pilgrimage in Spain such as the village of El Rocío and Santiago de Compostela ”.
Limón, who has reiterated the Diputación’s commitment to this initiative, has emphasized the magnitude of the project, which requires close collaboration between entities, “for which I want to thank the support of the Brotherhood of Rocío de Huelva and the Bishopric , to the Mother Brotherhood of Almonte, as a collaborating religious entity, as well as to the Andalusian and Spanish Federation of Ways of Saint James and to the Association of Friends of the South Way, Huelva – Zafra, because there are matching towns on both ways and because from the Diputación we are going to work on both roads, since two tractor projects are considered at the provincial level”.
The president of the provincial entity has thanked the municipalities of the Camino for their assistance and their commitment to the project, formalized through the signing of a letter of adhesion signed by all the municipalities that make up this Camino del Rocío to Santiago.
As Limón has pointed out, “we cannot affirm that the province of Huelva is a land of Jacobean pilgrimage, but it is a province of Santiago, so the official creation of this new path is going to be an excellent opportunity for these pilgrims, but, without a doubt, , also for our province when it comes to valuing all natural resources, by crossing four of the six regions of our province -Condado, Andévalo, Cuenca Minera and Sierra-, offering the pilgrim unique landscape enclaves”.
For the president of the provincial institution “the flow of pilgrims through this new route would serve as a boost to the economy of the rural areas through which it runs, many of them uninhabited, energizing them through rural and nature tourism and stimulating knowledge of its culture, history, customs and traditions, generating employment and wealth in the territory”.
Finally, Limón has stressed that “the officialization of this Way will contribute, through this new route, to spreading not only knowledge and devotion to the Patron Saint of Spain, but also to the image of the Virgen del Rocío, one of the the most widespread Marian devotions at a national and even global level, extending it even further outside our borders”.
The Camino del Rocío to Santiago
The Camino, already done for the first time, comprises a total of 34 stages – about 153.61 km. approximately -, although the Association is currently working on its final layout. To this end, various meetings have been held with the different mayors of the province to study the best itinerary for the province.
The current proposal would cross the province of Huelva, passing through natural landscapes of great attraction and tourist potential, such as Doñana, Pata del Caballo, the mines, the Tinto river and the Odiel river and the heart of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche. The route would go from the Sanctuary of Dew (Almonte) to the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche, where it would join the Camino Sur -established in 2002-, until connecting with the Vía de la Plata, in Zafra.
This road would run through the municipalities of Almonte, Bollullos Par del Condado, Villalba del Alcor, Paterna del Campo, Escacena del Campo, Berrocal, Nerva, La Granada de Ríotinto, Valdezufre (Aracena), Puerto Moral, Corteconcepción and Cañaveral de León, continuing through Fuentes de León, Segura de León and Valencia del Ventoso until reaching Zafra, in the province of Badajoz.
The request from the officialdom will not arrive until the definitive path is traced and the rest areas and shelters for pilgrims are set up, as well as the service offices for them. Once these procedures have been completed, the request will be made to the chapter of the Cathedral of Santiago and the validation of the same will be requested from the Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.