Cami de Cavalls

Cami de Cavalls, The Path of Horses, is the name given to the medieval coastal path around Menorca. After 400 years itis once again open. Legislation has now been passed to enable the path to be reinstated for public use. Inevitably it does not follow exactly the track of the original road due to developments over the centuries. Parts of the Cami de Cavalls are now open for horses. Whether as a walker or rider, visitors and Menorcans can now explore the old road.

As you may have read elswhere the coastline of this small Islandis peppered with inlets and bays and in total runs for almost 140 miles,220 Kms to be exact. Today the coastline is a tourists dream and the delight of countless holidaymakers.

For long periods in the Island history the Menorcans avoided contact with the coastal areas and preferring not to venture far from their homes in the interior. The coastal areas were regarded as unsafe with the danger of invasion, pirates and the fear of deceases brought from mainlandEurope many Menorcans never even saw the sea.

No one can be certain of the origins of the Cami de Cavalls. They could date fromthe Christian conquest of the island in the Middle Ages. What we can establish is that in the 16th and 17th centuries bands of armed men would travel the coast to support the Watch Tower keepers who spotted any suspicious ships.

The first reference to The Cami de Cavallers running around the edge of the island was documented in 1683 The document however indicatesthat the road was already very old. The French, who occupied Menorca between 1756 and 1763, appear to have developed the road for the purpose of defence and to connect all the coastal farms and villages. Gradually the military began to exclude the public from the road and erect signpostsprohibit public use. The Camí de Cavalls was a vital route for the army for the purpose of coastal surveillance well into the last century.

The late 1980s saw conflict arise between landowners and hiking groups. The island authorities wanted to guarantee the right of use forrecreation and tourism and the dispute continued for many years. In 2000 a lawwas passed by the Island authorities which effectively defined the Camí de Cavalls asan historic and cultural reality for the people of Menorca".

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