Campos del Rio is to be found in the region of the River Mula and is a town which dates back to the 11th century
Tramo de la Vía Verde del Noroeste
Campos del Rio is to be found in the region of the River Mula and is a town which dates back to the 11th century, the first written records about it coming from 1257. It was an Arabic settlement until the Castilian reconquest in1243. A few years later, Alphonse X the Wise granted privileges through which it became a part of the town of Mula. Afterwards it was handed over to Sancho Manuel in exchange for an annual income of 1,000 maravedis (an old Spanish coin), before being later passed on to the Ayalas, a noble family from Albacete, in exchange for a tribute payment every year.
A demographic crisis which grew more acute with the expulsion of the Moors in 1614 led to an almost complete depopulation of Campos. Its recovery did not begin until the second half of that same century, and especially the following one. In 1820, with the Constitution of the Courts of Cadiz, it was declared an independent borough, gaining its own Town Hall in 1836. At the beginning of the 20th century Campos became known as Campos del Rio. The basic economy of this area has always been agriculture and cattle breeding. Since ancient times, the huerta (the market grden and orchard region) has spread out along both banks of the river Mula. Nowadays the irrigated area is growing continuously and its principal crops are peach trees, orange trees and apricot trees with more modern and competitive production technology having been introduced. On the drier land the traditional almond and olive trees are still grown. The cultivated areas form a great contrast with the ¿bad lands¿, an extensive hilly area in which the lunar landscape with its lack of any vegetation is predominant.
The canning industry takes up a lot of the work force, although cattle rearing is also an important sector, and here the most important is the breeding of the Murcian goat, which is abundant in the area and a source of great income.
The traveller who arrives in Campos del Rio ought to take a walk along the Calle del Rosario in order to observe its large, wealthy houses, as well as the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower) and the baroque Church of St. John the Baptist, dating from the end of the 18th century, which houses works by the sculptor Francisco Salzillo. Another place of great interest for the visitor is the Castle of Campos del Rio, which was a watch tower in the 13th century but has now been converted into a viewing point which enables you to look out over part of the town, the huerta and the dry river beds.