A short walk that brings us closer to the Búrdalo River, where the whole environment that develops in the riverbank is another attraction that adds to the mill, orchards, domestic livestock…



3 Km.
1 h. 33 min.

Until a few years ago, the localities with the availability of the smallest watercourse had their own flour mill and, in many occasions, they could have two or more mills in a locality, as it happened in Villamesías where there were several mills, of which the remains of the mill owned by “uncle Calata” and another one belonging to the Church.
Both mills were driven by impellers, and needed to have a constant flow, in our case, the waters of the Búrdalo river, diverted to the mill by means of an irrigation channel. The use of these two hydraulic mills to grind flour meant a great technological advance for the municipality and for nearby towns such as Abertura or Puerto de Santa Cruz, both in terms of the time used for milling and in terms of labor savings. We must not forget that it was the most important industrial activity for society, given the importance it had, and still has, in the Extremadura diet.
The Cadastre of Ensenada collects the answers to the questions sent to Villamesías on August 3, 1746, from which we extract that it was a villa of lordship and belonged to Don Baltasar Mesía de Vargas, Count of Los Corbos and Viscount of this town. That there are four flour mills, two located in the Búrdalo stream, one belonging to the Brotherhood of the Blessed Souls of this town; another belonging to Tomás Broncano; and the other two in the Burdalillo stream, owned by Domingo Sánchez Torres, presbyter, and the other by Mateo Amarilla, presbyter, neighbor of Aldea del Obispo.
The hydraulic flour mill appeared for the first time in Roman times in its two varieties: horizontal wheel and vertical wheel. However, it was not until the Modern Age when the water mill reached its maximum expansion, maintained until the middle of the 20th century, when technological development robbed it of its protagonism.
These two mills of Villamesías located on the Búrdalo river, 300 m from each other, are the silent witnesses of an agricultural past that had a flourishing flour industry. These mills have been in use, relatively, until recently.
To the mill of “uncle Calata” we arrive through an alley that starts at Gabriel y Galán street. If we go along the river we can see the rusty gears with which it worked in the past. If we go upstairs we will see the pipes through which the water precipitated that made possible the milling of the grain.
In the Interrogatorio de la Real Audiencia of 1791 the mills are mentioned: “That there are two streams or torrents that run through the town, but most of the time they are dry, especially in summer and for the same reason there are no water reservoirs, nor can they be taken out because they would be useless, and there are no mineral waters. That there are no oil mills, nor any other machine for threshing, nor of any other kind, except for the three sand mills”.
At 300 meters are the remains of another mill, which was owned by the church, almost destroyed, which we reached by the path, up the river about 300 meters, and from where we saw a good view of the village and the puddles of Búrdalo. If we continue straight on for a few meters, paying attention to a detour to the right with thick vegetation on the ground, we reach the old water conduction that diverted the water from the river to take it to the mill, at some points we will see the walls of this channel.
Returning to the village, before entering the Alameda street we find the “puddle of the crazy fig tree”, where formerly they washed the flax, there are still some stones where the flax was rubbed.
The landscapes will change notably with the season of the year in which we visit. The rainfall regime is important in determining river flow. Spring, due to the explosion that occurs throughout the land, and winter, due to the appearance of the river, which has been ravaged by the rains, can be key moments, but throughout the year they offer an incomparable setting to enjoy a natural environment that we have very close at hand.