Ta’ Cenc

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We spent a week in Gozo at Ta’Cenc Hotel (see review below). This is a lovely situation on the edge of Sannat Village and on the edge of Ta’Cenc headland, a massive limestone headland surrounded by steep cliffs. It is criss-crossed by a series of footpaths and is a nice place to walk and relax.

In places it is bare scraped limestone. Elsewhere, where there is a thin layer of soil, wild plants flourish. In Spring it is covered with wild flowers – spurge, clumps of yellow rest harrow, orchids, mallow, scabious, fennel, wild artichoke… The air was scented by the smell of wild thyme as we walked. In the summer drought, these die and the area is brown and dead. Lizards scurry across the paths in front of your feet.

There are the remains of old field boundaries and stone built shooting huts. Over the last few years there has been increasing legislation controlling indiscriminate shooting of song birds and spring is now a closed season, although shooting can still take place in autumn. Fortunately the Maltese are gradually accepting shooting is no longer acceptable.

We collected a copy of the aerial map from reception which shows footpaths and marks places of interest. We set off the find the ‘cart tracks’. These parallel ruts gouged out of the limestone are found across Gozo. The assumption is that they are not natural, but no-one knows when they were made or what they were used for. The suggestion is that they were made by prehistoric sleds, possibly pulling stones. However in places one line of ruts can be as much as 20” above the other – not easy for pulling a sled.

To find the ruts, take the track between the swimming pools to the hotel boundary wall. Turn right and follow the boundary wall to where it ends near the cliffs. Turn right and walk towards the wall seen across an exposed area of limestone. We found several cart tracks running more or less parallel and slightly downhill. Some were about 6” deep but most were a lot shallower. Several ended in a wider, silty puddle. I must admit we weren’t convinced as many looked as if they could have been the result of natural weathering or solution.

There are other sets of tracks marked on the map but these are not as easy to find.

Near the cart tracks is a large area of bare limestone which has a series of parallel groves curt out of it at 9” intervals. This is in line with the old road and presumably this was done to give better grip for horse’s hooves. With the eye of faith we could perhaps see the beginning of formation of cart grooves here.

Head back to the edge of the cliff for good views of the impressive cliffs with horizontal strata which plunge vertically down into the sea.

The remains of the dolmen is off the main main track towards the hotel’s private beach. There is a large isolated tree along the path. Cut off the path to the north for the remains of the dolmens on the edge of the plateau. There is one small one still with a cap stone. A second one has collapsed. There are good views of Xewkija, dominated by the Rotunda.

Walking on the plateau is easy. You can't get lost and although tracks are rough they make easy walking.

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