Espinaréu is a good example to meet the rural Asturias but it is also a wonderful place to enjoy this natural landscape. Its close mountains and forests encourage us to walk and run different routes. But this place is also suitable for routes on horse or mountain bikes. This territory has two important rivers, Espinareu and Sotu. In the surroundings we find signs which indicate us the possible routes.
At only three kilometres of the rural centre, the main road leads us to Riofabar, where we find many places to relax: the recreational area of Pesanca and Arboreto of Miera located on the shores of the river Infierno and also placed between the mountain range of Aves and La Giblaniella. It is a wonderful place with many natural sources and occupied by different types of trees: beeches, oaks and chestnuts (the natural forest of Asturias).
The natural landscape of Espinaredo (in the council of Piloña) is known in Asturias as “Espinaréu”, and it is a vivid treasure of ancient times. Its antiquity is precisely proved on the granaries “Hórreos” which are all around in this town. These types of constructions were used to store the harvest and the meat of the slaughter of animals. For this reason, they were built up to high, leaning on four pillars in order to avoid humidity and get the right temperature. They also served to keep rodents away or other animals which could use up the stocks.
In any way, these granaries are part of the asturian landscape and come to prove the human adaptation to a hostile and wet climate. There are granaries all around Asturias but today in most cases, they are relics and appear spreading alone in the landscape. In some rural centres even they did not exist. Others survive in ruins and hardly ever, did they work as stores for tools and vehicles.
But here in Espinaréu we find the exception. We can see many of those old granaries which used to give importance to those territories full of life and inventiveness. The biggest number of granaries in Asturias is concentrated here, in this town.
Nowadays granaries have different uses or none in particular. Only by its exterior side, we can realize the real reason why they were built and it is not rare at all, to find onions, garlic or any other harvest product hanged on them. But today fridges and freezers have left them apart of its old uses.
These granaries sometimes show external motives which give them a unique appearance. And it is also important to mention that the granaries of Espinaréu are probably the oldest in Asturias. If we are witty, we can see one without asking for permission to his owner. We also have here the chance of visiting a small museum in which we can know the history of granaries and the harvest in old times.
The granaries of Espinaréu, as in the rest of Asturias, also keep a mystical or superstitious essence. The ethnography patrimony of this town is marked by the mystical and magical characters carved on the woods that form these granaries. These are persuasive elements used to keep the evil away and its origin is probably Celtic, because Celts used to do these drawings on forests and in caves. These same symbols live together with the own marks of builders and their future generations. This is an extraordinary subject for analysis.
In Espinaréu we can also find other constructions which are very similar to granaries, but these last served to keep bread. These constructions are slightly bigger than granaries and have six pillars instead of four, and also have a bigger number of ornaments which decorate them. Both types were usually made of chestnuts wood and their pieces were joined without using any nail, only assembling the pieces in the right way with much patience.
It is widely known that granaries and bread stores were important elements in rural houses but, their origin is even today a bit unclear. Some people think that these granaries were big stores that romans used on their routes to keep their things safe, but when they were old they were left and rural people then took them to store their harvest products.