Mesta Livestock trails


Mesta Livestock trails is part of the Tentative list of Spain in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Mesta Livestock trails or Cañadas Reales are a network of interconnected roads that have been used for transhumance since ancient times. The maintenance of the cañadas has been regulated by laws since the Middle Ages up to the present time. About 125,000 kilometres of this trail network still exist today.

Map of Mesta Livestock trails

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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France - 19-May-18 -

Mesta Livestock trails (T) by Argo

Mesta was the organization is charge of managing transhumance of cattle, mainly sheep, in medieval Spain. Mesta trails are the ways that cross central Spain from north to south and that were used by shepherds and their animals.

Although the sections of these tracks proposed for inscription are not clear at all (at least to me!), we made an interesting visit on our way from Madrid to Avila in the fall of 2016. Near the village of El Tiemblo are two medieval bridges (Puente de Valsordo and Puente de Santa Justa), one after the other, on the rio Alberche. What makes the place interesting to my point of view is that a long text from medieval times is carved on a rock laying between these two bridges, and this text sets the price to be paid by shepherds to the Mesta when using these bridges (price is set depending on the number of animals). With modern words we would call it a toll place. It is almost impossible to read this text without help, but luckily there is a modern panel aside reproducing the exact text and giving brief explanation about how the Mesta organization worked.

To find this place, when driving on National road N403 and passing by El tiemblo village, take the road to Cebreros village, then after ca. one kilometre, leave this road on the right on a dust road. It will drive you down the valley for about another kilometre, until you reach the narrow rio where you will (obviously) find the bridges. Easy to park there, but no signposts: use a good map (or Google Maps!).

Full Name
Mesta Livestock trails
Human activity - Transport and Trade
2007 Revision

Successor to former TWHS Las Ca

2007 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Mesta Livestock trails

The site has 8 locations

Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Soriana Occidental (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Zamorana (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Vizana o de la Plata (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Leonesa Oriental (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Segoviana (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Galiana (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Soriana Oriental (T)
Mesta Livestock trails: Ca?ada Real Soriana Occidental (T)
WHS 1997-2024