Its name derives from Silvanus, god of the forests and protector of vegetation, and from the Latin name "silva" which means jungle. Located in the valley of the stream and marked by the coal mining of the area, in fact, the most important mines of the municipality were located here.
The village stretches along the river and up the hillside surrounded by ash, oak and chestnut trees, which gives a feeling of a small natural paradise. Near the town, the stream of La Silva is born, which crosses the valley to Torre del Bierzo where it flows into the Tremor. In its path we will find oak and ash trees that contrast their beauty between blackish dumps and coal sinks. Old houses with wooden galleries are preserved in the part near the bar. In it there is a public fountain with an old baptismal font. Houses have even been built next to the rocks, building houses, corrals and even coal bunkers.
In honour of the mining tradition of the area, a mine entrance with a gallery has been prepared as a museum that simulates the conditions in which miners carry out their work. It is accessed by concrete stairs, next to a pool hanging from the mountain.
We can opt for a walk where we can visit the ruins of the church of San Juan de Montealegre, declared a Site of Cultural Interest. We only have to deviate along one of the roads used by coal trucks, smeared with black dust, which start from the main road, taking as a reference the bell tower of the church that can be seen from the same road.
Its people were dedicated to agriculture, livestock and coal mining.
It is a district of the municipality of Villagatón in the province of León. It is located at an altitude of 930 meters, occupying the westernmost part of the Cepeda region, on the western slope of the Manzanal area, like Montealegre, in a beautiful geography where Bierzo and Cepeda merge.
The route begins on the track that leads to the sports center, from where you take an old road that, between the holm oaks and oaks installed on sunny slopes, accesses the Valdecouso area, an important chestnut grove that offers, when autumn comes, its appetizing fruits; chestnuts.
Little by little, the path narrows and saves the unevenness between the previous spot and the Arroyo del Mostruelo, also known as Arroyo de la Górgora, in reference to the sound that the water makes when it springs up.
Oak, holm oak and chestnut trees slowly give way to lush vegetation favoured by the humidity and the shade of the narrow channel of the stream, which runs through the quartzite rock. Ferns, mosses, lichens and trunks of water-loving trees, tapestry on the ground.
The mysterious and gloomy atmosphere accompanies the rustic wooden bridge that spans the stream and the legend of the Górgoras
Peña Infierna or Well of Gorgora. Once you have reached this bridge, the quiet walk along the crystal clear waters allows you to enjoy the uniqueness of this hidden and remote place.
The route begins at the Church of Manzanal del Puerto, at the foot of the Nacional VI where the Cosmological Stele is located, and runs through the town with a small cultural visit that includes the Peña de Santo Tirso and ends at the Casinas de Majar, which are testimonies of the agricultural past of the area.
You continue along a path, part of the Vía Nova until you reach the Valle de la Silva where you can hear the bubbling sound of its many waterfalls, among which is the Cascada de la Retuerta that gives this route its name.
Walking along the river bank, you reach the Ferrina Fountain, which owes its name to an old iron mine that is in the upper part and which is surrounded by a grove of centenary chestnut trees.
Following the route of the mining road we arrive in the town of La Silva, where you can visit the museum, which collects its mining past and its ancient workings.
After travelling to the past, we continue our way until we reach the ruins of the ancient Monastery of San Juan de Montealegre, originally known as San Martín de Montes ruled by the Military Order of Hospitallers of Jerusalem, a jewel of Romanesque architecture declared since the 90s as Asset of Cultural Interest by the Junta de Castilla y León.
Returning to La Silva, we will find remains of the mining activity that existed in the area for many years. Witness them in the extraction well and the personnel entrance crossing of the San Juan Well.
Between oaks, white hawthorn trees and meadows, the path back to the town runs in whose La Llama Park is exposed the Foundational Milestone of San Martín de Montes with epigraphs that prove its origin. We finish the route having a picnic in the Santa Bárbara Park, while we admire its mine entrance and its mining machinery.