The source of Guadalhorce River is at Villanueva del Trabuco, at the foot of the mountains where two steams from the San Jorge and Gibalto Mountain Ranges join.
The source is a small stream next to a robust poplar on the border with the province of Granada, in an area known as Puerto de los Alazores, in the Cortijo de Juan Hoz.
In ancient times, this river was known as Malacae fluvius, and certainly, its 166 kilometres make it the longest river in the province.
When the Arabs dominated the area, it was known as Wuad-al-Horce or the river of wheat; a reference to the crops along its banks in the wealthy Antequera basin. After the conquest, it was called the Guadalquivirejo, although this name did not survive for too long.
The river bank forest includes willows, black poplars, ash trees, poplars and elm trees, wild roses, reeds, ferns, oleander, giant reeds, ivy, white mulberry trees, daisies and buttercups.
Concerning the fauna, we can find frogs and toads, nightingales, goldfinches, robins, blackbirds, black weathers, jackdaws, stonechats, blackcaps, swallows, Mediterranean pond turtles, marbled newts ( very scarce), ladder snakes. There are not many webbed-feet birds in this section of the river because the water level is low, but some may be seen near Villanueva del Trabuco, such as mallard ducks, tattlers and even Spanish ribbed newts.
Native fauna can also be found near cultivated areas, such as foxes, thrushes, rabbits, red-legged partridges, Montagu’s harriers, turtledoves,…
In spite of the low water level in the upper reaches of the stream, there are occasional torrents, which have caused the river to be channelled as it passes through the town avoid flooding.
On the slopes of the San Jorge mountains, we shall find the 101 Caños (101 spouts), a must for nature enthusiasts, where the fresh water from inside the mountains flows to the river. This is a favourite place with the local people to celebrate the San Marcos festivities.
The Guadalhorce River has contributed to the creation of some of the most beautiful areas in the province of Malaga, such as the Hoz de Marin (Marin Ravine), in Archidona, the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Gaitanes Gorge) and the Chorro waterfall in the district of Guadalteba, and its estuary is also of great importance for birds.
A visit, from its sources to its estuary, is a must for nature enthusiasts.