Since immemorial times there existed always a kind of refuge for the shepherds of the area on a private basis, which was known by the people of the region as “Cortijo de Los Quejigales”. The zone was a popular grazing ground for the livestock of the nearby villages like Parauta (in whose municipal territory the area was situated at that time), although there were as well other activities like the cultivation of cereals and grapes, the recollection of esparto grass, the production of ice from the snow of the mountain summits in the so called “neveros”, etc.
Later on and during some demarcation due to new regulations and laws, the area became part of the municipal territory Ronda. Sometimes later the area became public.
Being already a public area and of huge ecological value, it became necessary to establish some kind of protection system, consistent with the developing of the general consciousness for the environment. Therefore in the years 50’ of the 20th century, a house was constructed to host the forest guards and the firemen, which were located in the area and were at that time taken under contract by the different town halls and public administrations. This house existed only a few years, as it became too small very quickly. On its basements new buildings were constructed, which exist still today. This explains why the lower part of the building is made of rocks and has the very thick walls, typical for the traditional constructions of the time.
From the moment the surrounding became public, the house was managed by the different public Authorities of Environment on national and regional level, ceding its operations to different companies and institutions.
During the 70’s it was responsibility of “ICONA” (Instituto Nacional de Conservación de la Naturaleza – National Institute for the Conservation of Nature). After this institution disappeared in the mid 80’s, the house was managed during some years by the “IARA” (Instituto Andaluz de Reforma Agraria – Andalusian Institute for the Agrarian Reform).
Due to the enormous environmental interest of the area, the house was many times investigation centre and base for the excursions of biologists and other scientists, who studied the different ecosystems of the place, the fauna and especially the endemisms of the flora. It was even called some time “Refugio Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente”, in honour of this famous Spanish naturalist.
During the 90’s the management was finally assigned to “Egmasa” (Empresa de Gestión Medio Ambiental – Company for the Management of the Environment). At the beginning it was still used as operation centre for the forest guards, although it found very quickly another additional utility as accommodation for rural tourism and was renamed with its original name “Cortijo Los Quejigales”.
From this moment on its use as working place and accommodation for the scientists after their excursions for the investigation of the surroundings was combined with its use as mountain refuge or hostel for the public. Accommodation in the house could be requested at the Delegation of Environment of Andalusia in Málaga. The rooms were equipped with bunk beds to offer space for school classes, students and groups.
After a thorough renovation the “Cortijo de Los Quejigales” was managed by a renowned Andalusian tour operator for rural tourism for individual travelers and small groups until the end of the concession. After this period the Council of Environment of Malaga renovated the house again with the help of “Egmasa”, in order to equip it according to the requirements of todays’ rural tourism.
This new phase of exploitation starts in 2011 and will be managed by the Group of Companies Promarketing. The house will also be used by another company of the same group, named “Parknatur”, which will use it as starting point for its routes and roundtrips through the Natural Parks of Andalusia. Please find more information about this project on the web page www.parknatur.com.