With so many rivers in Galicia, there are many water mills. Of some only a few stones remain, but others are preserved in good condition, and others have been restored.
It seems that it was the monasteries that brought so much mill. The construction had its somewhat complicated mechanisms, so not everyone had a mill, beyond monks and wealthy people. Generally, the “muiños de herdeiros” (heir mills) were used, which were shared by several families over generations. These are small and are found on the banks of small rivers. There were also the maquías, in which the owner worked in exchange for a part of the milling, which is what is called “maquía”. Leaving aside their ethnographic value, the location of these constructions gives us a perfect reason to discover our nature.
There are many trails and routes that take us to the mills on the banks of the rivers. For example, if we start in the Rías Baixas, we have several obligatory stops, such as the Muíños do Folón and do Picón. On this small circular route, in the municipality of O Rosal, between Martín and Fornelos, we have to go up the slope of Mount Campo do Couto, where the Picón river mills are, and go down another slope, where the Folón mills are. The mills, staggered on the mountain in a particular way, are from the 17th and 18th centuries, and have been restored. The added value of the excursion are the views from above of the mouth of the Miño, O Val do Rosal, Mount Santa Trega and Portugal.
If we head north, reaching the O Salnés region, we have another stop at A Ruta da Pedra e da Auga, which goes along the banks of the Armenteira, in Meis and Ribadumia. It starts at the Armenteira Monastery and follows the path of the river, full of more or less restored mills, with many waterfalls. In the Serén group of mills, the recreation of a peasant village stands out; then we arrive at the Barrantes mills. The route is linear and measures 6.5 km.
Since we are walking through the north of the province of Pontevedra, we go up a bit and we are already in A Coruña, where there are also mills. A good route, for example, is the Ruta da auga de Zas, in the parish of A Gándara, in Zas. In addition to being known for its waterfalls, it has up to 17 muíños that used the power of the river. The path takes us along riverside paths, among oaks, alders, granaries, there are even beehives, a fulling mill, a castro… The circular route begins and ends in A Ponte do Sisto.
To the northwest, in the municipality of Vimianzo, the Batáns e muíños do Mosquetín await us. Fulling mills were used to treat fabrics, especially wool, and for that they also took advantage of the force of the water. Today, the ethnographic complex, which has seven mills, can be visited, and we can even observe how it works.
If we jump to Lugo, we have to stop at the Ruta da Auga de Guitiriz, which links the Camino Norte de Santiago with the three medicinal springs of the municipality: Valdovín, San Xoán and Santo Domingo. In addition to having these good waters, a Roman bridge, a transept… there are many mills, on a route of almost 20 km.
Further south, in A Ribeira Sacra, it is also known how to take advantage of the slope that the water carries. On the banks of the Xábrega Stream, in Sober, there are 28 Muíños dos Chancís, some of which have been recovered. The route is short, but it has a lot of railings and a viewpoint to enjoy the landscape.
In the province of Ourense, land of hot springs, there are also many water mills. An example of a short but very charming route is that of the Muíños de Castro Caldelas. It does not reach 5 km round trip. At the Labeco mill, which has been restored and can be visited, the river path of the Edo River begins. It is an area full of native trees and granite rocks. The mills of A Costa do Vao are also here. The route ends in the recreational area of A Ponte das Táboas.
Finally, in the region of O Ribeiro, the Ruta dos muíños de Carballeda de Avia awaits us. It is a circular route of connected trails that passes through A Veronza and As Fermosas, the highest point. Afterwards, it goes towards Vilar de Couso and Vilariño, and returns to Carballeda de Avia. On the 7.2 km route, we pass by the mills and the recreational area of A Veronza, the Trigás mill and the As Fermosas mill. The landscape is totally fantasy, with large granite rocks in the middle, some all green with moss.