The Villagers of Sierra de Gredos


1989 / 52 minutes

Directed by
Peter Carr
Country of production
United Kingdom
Disappearing World Series

The 130 villagers of Navalguijo in the Sierra de Gredos of Central Spain live in a village perched high in the mountains and they face an extreme climate with very cold winters and hot summers. The soil is acid and poor, and the steep slopes and short growing season mean that agriculture cannot provide a living. Collectively the villagers own summer pastures high in the mountains, and individually they hold smaller autumn pastures. With access to winter pastures across the mountains in the region of Extremadura, they are able to maintain a large herd of beef cattle, which form their main source of wealth and which are their dearest possessions. To make this film, the crew joined the village men on their trek to Extremadura, when they drive their cattle down the mountains. This cattle drive is a mixture of hard work and holiday, with passing round of leather wine bottles, story-telling and evening stopovers at favourite inns punctuating the long march. This film portrays a society whose ideals of village co-operation and the rigid and efficient organisation of tasks have given the village a strong sense of identity over generations. It remains to be seen if this sense of identity survives the breakdown of their isolation from the outside world as tourists discover 'hidden Spain' and better communications and roads bring increasing contact with the rest of the country.

Language and subtitles
English with English Subtitles
Western Mediterranean
Herding Rural Collective / Community identity