The Cascaded Mills of Folon and Picon

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The mills of Folon and Picon are a collection of 60 mills located on the slopes of Monte Campo do Couto, in the Spanish municipality of El Rosal, in the autonomous community of Galicia. These mills, built during the 18th century, are arranged in a cascade so that they could share the same water channel. The energy provided by the waters as it flowed down the mountain was utilized to grind corn and wheat, as well as working with linen and wool. Although no longer operational, the beautifully restored mills constitute an ensemble of great cultural and ethnographic heritage of the El Rosal region.

The mills are built in two groups. The first group called the Folón Mills, consist of 36 mills and are located on the slope of Folón over a stream which is also called Folón. The second group called Picon Mills, consist of 24 mills and are located nearby over the stream called Picon.

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Most of the mills are two-story structures built from stone with the actual mill situated on the top floor while the ground floor is occupied by the machinery that drives the mill.  Some of them include an adjacent watering trough for animals. The oldest inscription on these structures dates back to 1702 although there seems to be documentary evidence that these facilities were in operation in the 17th century. The existence of these mills in this location is probably linked to the influence of the monks at the Santa María de Oia Monastery. Some of the mills belonged to the villages, as communal property; others were privately owned or shared among several families, and there were also some that were rented out.

In 1988, the Folón and Picón Mills were declared a site of cultural interest. Soon after, work began to recover and restore the mills and their surroundings, which were in a state of abandon at that time. Today, there is a well marked hiking trail in the area with the possibility of free guided tours to see and understand the operation of the mills.

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Sources: Wikipedia / Turismo de Galicia / Mara Villas de Galicia

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