Vias Verdes, Spain (continued). This selection of photographs continues our exploration of Spain's new greenways, which are based on the trackbeds of the country's abandoned railways. At a time (December 2015) when the UK government is poised to impose a huge reduction in the funding for such projects at home, it is instructive to note that the Vias Verdes network is still being expanded. Presumably, Spain's national government and local authorities see economic benefit in the tourist revenue to be gained from such investment.

Above: The next line explored was the Plazaola Greenway between Andoian (15 minutes from San Sebastian) and Pamplona. The Via Verde here is currently about 50 km long and runs up the heavily wooded, and deserted, Leitzaran Valley before entering Navarra and passing through the Uitzi Tunnel, which is 2.7 km long (over 1¾ miles). In this picture 11 km into the trail, the via verde passes the mouth of a tunnel on the original mineral line (iron ore) near Olloki station. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)

Above: A viaduct over the River Leitzaran (one of 12) shortly after Olloki. The pure waters of this river contain large trout and crayfish. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: A bridge shortly after the viaduct above. The valley is narrow and heavily wooded, and was dripping with moisture when our party cycled along it. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)

Left: 18 km into the trail, this impressive viaduct is actually an aqueduct – Mustar Aqueduct, which took water to the Ameraun hydro electric plant. The railway passed underneath, as the next photograph reveals. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)

Above: The railway passes beneath the aqueduct. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: The contorted course of the original mineral line was straightened when the line was extended for passengers to Pamplona. The unlined tunnel on the right was for the mineral line, whilst the via verde takes the lined and arched tunnel to the left. Altogether, this via verde contains over 40 tunnels. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: The original terminus of the line was in Guizpuzcoa (one of the three regions of the Basque country). As you pass into Navarra for the extention to Pamplona, the landscape changes and becomes greener, and the views wider. The meadow on the left was being scythed by hand. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: A rock cutting nr Leitza, where there is an 800m tunnel. This view is highly reminiscent of Devil's Gulch on the Elan Valley Railway in Wales, which was used in the early years of the 20th century to construct four large dams in the Elan Valley for Birmingham's public water supply. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: Having passed through the 2½ km Uitzi Tunnel, our group descended on a ledge to the end of their ride in Lukenberri where the far building is a restaurant, noisy with Spanish families eating lunch at 3.30pm. The signs on the route showed that the via verde has now been constructed as far as Exteberri (close the the existing Pamplona line). Taking the train or coach here would permit cycling the entire trail in one direction only, back to San Sebastian – but our group did it both ways. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)