Esporles and water- A route that traces the source of life
Water is the source of life. It is an essential resource, skilfully harvested and used by Esporles throughout the course of history. This route highlights the numerous different water-related features of Esporles that were built by our ancestors to make the most efficient use of it. It is also a good reminder that water is a communal resource, and so it must be rationally and sustainably managed for the sake of our future.
The route begins in front of the parish church, next to the Rectory, where a water trough called Pica de l’Hort de la Rectoria can be seen, which sometimes gushes with water from Baix de Son Tries spring. In the 18th century, the spring's waters were the cause of a dispute between the Church and Baix de Son Tries estate.
Esporles owes its existence to Sant Pere torrent. Not only did the town gradually form along both banks of the torrent, but its waters also led to the development of local industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Obviously, there have also been some tragic episodes in history, mainly due to flooding.
The water, however, has not always reached all the orchards and houses. In bygone days, where did the water for the houses of Esporles' townsfolk come from? That's easy: from water ponds. You can still find many of them, especially in the oldest houses in the old town, in the narrow side streets off Carrer Major.
Water is also associated with recreation and leisure. Son Dameto torrent gathers water from the whole of the Son Dameto-Son Cabaspre basin, and when it rains, the torrent's water rushes across the town due to its narrow sides and little waterfalls. One such waterfall, just after Camí de Son Dameto bridge, is known as Gorg de la Mar or Sa Potada des Gegant (the Giant's Footprint).
On the other side of Sant Pere torrent, close to the bend by Es Badaluc, there was once a public washing place, which unfortunately no longer exists.
In the middle of the little square called Placeta des Pla, there is an old circular walled drinking trough with a fountain. Although today it is purely ornamental, it was once used as a drinking trough for the livestock that worked on estates such as Son Simonet, Son Dameto or Son Cabaspre.
Sometimes few traces still survive of the way in which water used to be channelled. This is the case of Carrer de s’Albelló.
In another square, Plaça del Brollador, a second drinking trough can be seen, like the one in Placeta del Pla. One of the most fascinating, loveliest spots in Esporles is the spring known as Font de Baix de Son Tries. Its waters emerge from an underground gallery, protected by a striking nympheum with a pointed arch. Irrigation channels lead out from it, carrying the water to an old washing place, an open irrigation pond, and a drainage channel that borders the cobbled track.
Despite the valley's plentiful rain, saving water was all important, even more so if one's own springs did not flow as abundantly as others. In a field behind Rafal des Capellans estate buildings, there is an extraordinary example of a traditional irrigation pond dating back to 1787, with stone and mortar walls and a solid barrel vault.