Mills are one of the most common elements of the popular architecture of Galicia. This is due to two main factors: Firstly, it is easy to generate hydropower in a country with such an extensive river network and coast line. Secondly, since mills are the essential part of the process of making bread, which was for a long time the main food of our people. You will be amazed by the riverside walk of Rio Negro.

With PEFC you will know the advantages of the ecosystem gives to society. The ecosystem services.

The Mills
Riverwalk
Moraime’s monastery
THE ROLE OF PEFC
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The Mills

There are many kinds of mills. Regarding their ownership, they could be community mills, built and used exclusively by a group of people with collective rights and duties of maintenance, barter mills ,where the service was done in return of part of the milling (barter).In most of them, the grain was milled to make bread, mills are a step forward in the process of making bread, as well as threshing floor,(eiras de mallar) grain stores(`horreos’)and stone oven that we´ve already mentioned on our way to Ozón. In order to get oil, olives were also ground, as well as barks from the trees to harden skins Regarding the kind of energy used to make mills work, they can be classified as:windmill(were built in Galicia since XIX century), animal mill (moved by mules or oxen)and hydraulic mills (operated by the power of the rivers or the sea).Those last ones are the most common: river mills were introduced in the Middle Ages and the tide mills in the XV-XVI centuries. Among them we can also differentiate various types according to the mechanism of milling and the way in which the water comes to the mill. As we mentioned before, their typology is varied.

Riverwalk of Rio Negro

Along the  Riverwalk of Rio Negro there are 17 mills that you can visit following the wooden footbridge that ends at the beach of Area Maior, in Merexo. They consist on simple constructions with square or rectangular shape, built in rubblework, without any coating. They have a tile gabled roof, on a wooden structure. The size varies depending on the number of parts for milling that they have, in this case, one or two for each mill, but it can be up to five. Next to the access door there is a piece of granite called `pousadoiro´ that protrudes by 30 or 50 cm and it was used to put the sack of grain on top.

In the course of the river a small dam was built with stone labs in order to divert the water that runs through a canal into the mills. In this case, the canal is made of stone, but it could be of wood too. The water gets into the mill through the lower side inferno, it is filtered in the grade, and a grid prevents sticks or stones going through. The power of the water moves the wheel, which is usually from wood too, it can be either horizontal (rodicio) or vertical (bruia), and this is the one that drives the grinding piece. Hanging on the wall, you can find the moega, a wooden box as an inverted pyramid shape, which is open at the top where the grain is added and at the bottom where it feels on the gear.

The gear and the stone basin are pieces of stones that mill the grain, the first is the one that spins whereas the second stays fixed. According to the type of grain, the parts of grinding are from different quality and have different names: white stones or albeiras, to grind wheat and rye, and country stones or pedra mourenza, to grind corn.

Though the stone is the main material, mills are an example of wood being used as a building material, not only for the ceiling or woodwork, but also for the milling tools.

From the joints of the gear and the stone basin the floor comes out and goes into a place called farneiro. Different qualities can be distinguished: oleo fine flour, farelo rough flour with husk of the grain, and picón, crushed grains.

Mills were also a social gathering place where people used to spend their time while waiting for their turn, and many people suggest that the origins of the muñeiras, a typical Galician dance, took place there. Many of the instruments of the traditional music of Galicia are made by different components, among them,wood: tambourine, hand drum,bagpipes,small drums, bass drum..

These mills start to be abandoned from the 1950s, replaced by electric mills. 

Moraime’s monastery

Moraime’s monastery stands nearby. It was built in the twelfth century, and only its timber-roofed church remains. Its main facade is flanked by two bell towers. The north one has preserved its original features, but the south one has been modified. A modern portico hides its romanesque portico, its technique linked to the Pórtico da Gloria at Santiago’s Cathedral by many scholars. The south facade has a romanesque-style door that was walled until not long ago, and which communicated the church with the monastery. Aside from the spectacular architecture, the interior paintings previously covered by a layer of lime stand out. They are eight canvases representing the seven capital sins and death. They are date from the seventeenth century by historians, but some argue their medieval origins.

Underneath the medieval monastery, archaeological excavations proof that this space was inhabited by Germanic peoples and by the Romans. On the one hand, eight west-east oriented excavated Visigoth tombs and their associated bronze related artefacts were documented (a brooch and a cross). On the other hand, there is also evidence of water canalization, as well as a hypocaust (an underfloor hollow chamber through which hot air circulated), which indicates the existence of a late-imperial Roman villa. 

The role of PEFC

Ecosystemic services are those benefits that an ecosystem gives to society, they sustain our health, our economy, and our quality of life. 

We can consider four different types of ecosystemic services, according to the benefit they offer:

  • Supply services are the material benefits that people get with ecosystems, such as food provision, water, fibres, timber…
  • Governance services are benefits obtained from key ecosystem functions, such as climate and water cycle control, soil erosion adjustments, pollination…
  • Cultural services are those immaterial benefits that people get from ecosystems, related to time off, leisure or general cultural aspects.
  • Support services are necessary for the production of all other ecosystemic services, for example offering spaces where plants and animals coexist, allowing diversity of species and maintaining genetic diversity. 

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Ecosystemic services combine the preservation of the natural environment as well its sustainable development. A PEFC forestry certificate uses criteria and parameters that allow us to measure these services and the quality of our interaction with the environment. 

With the Spanish PEFC certification we evaluate the state and evolution of forest through the criteria and parameters established in Regulation UNE162.002 of Sustainable Forestry Management, such as criteria Schedule 5, for the maintenance and relevant improvement of the protective function of forest management, through which potentially sensitive areas must be identified, and the existence of preventive and corrective measures need to be adopted and implemented, with the objective of protecting soil erosion, prevent water quality adverse effects, being specially careful with the management of the hydrological cycle, riverbed stabilisation, riverside protection, etc., and adopt corrective measures, should they be necessary.

Thus, we must have the tools that allow us to identify which management options help these benefits and avoid potential risk for ecosystems and societies

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Initiative promoted by the program “O teu Xacobeo” of the Xunta de Galicia