This route follows some of the old paths and trails used to bring wood charcoal down from the Serra de Finestres. The path that passes by Font Ricard is an attractive mule trail that connects the hamlet of Ruïtlles to the church of El Freixe. The Marrades Trail follows the zig-zag path once used by the mules to walk down from Finestres with their panniers heavily loaded with charcoal.
Leave the car-park at Mieres along Carrer de la Font where you will find the signpost G159 Mieres-L’Hort del Truc, walk along the metalled street southwards heading towards the hamlet of Ruïtlles. Once past the last house and into the fields, ignore another metalled road that heads off to the left.
Continue straight on and come to signpost M2 Samontà de Baix. Keep straight on here too along the metalled road, ignoring the turns off to the right and left and always following the tarmac. Once at a spring, Font de Can Salavia, turn right, climb up the bank into an area of fields, where you should keep left. A few metres later you enter into an area of pasture. Pass through a number of electric fences (always leave them just as you find them) and continue following the yellow Itinerànnia waymarking.
Once through the pastures, you reach a forest track that quickly joins a larger track, which you should follow as far as the ruins of a house known as ‘Font Ricard’.
Pass next to the house and then pick up an attractive mule trail on the left that begins to wind wisely uphill. This was one of the trails that was used by the mules that came down from the Finestres ridge with their saddlebags loaded to the brim with oak bark and charcoal.
This path comes to an old forest track, which you should take as it climbs gently – but with a number of flat stretches – up towards the main track that runs from El Freixe to Bustins.
Take this track and follow the yellow waymarking until you reach signpost M3 Ermita del Freixe, where, just opposite, stands the small church of Santa Maria del Freixe.
To return, follow the sign pointing towards ‘Mieres (1h25min)’ that take you along the track from El Freixe to Mieres as far as signpost G95. Here, turn right and start to descend towards Mieres on ‘El Camí de les Marrades’, a path that was much used in the past by the mules and horses that transported the charcoal produced in these forests.
Zigzag downhill until you reach the dirt track that leads to a house, Mas de la Muntada. Turn right and continue to follow the yellow waymarking until it takes you to the right again, leaving the track and entering into an area of pastures with a number of electric fences that you must close after you walk through.
Cross over the pastures and come out onto the small metalled road that links Mieres to the hamlet of Ruïtlles at signpost M2 Samontà de Baix. Turn left, continue along the metalled road and after a little while Mieres hoves into view. A few minutes later you will end up back at the starting point of this walk.