Trail nr. 11: The Old Pilgrim Road from Spodnja Idrija to Ledine
HIKING AND CYCLING TRAILS
The steep gravel road leading from Spodnja Idrija to the Ledine Plateau offers a series of beautiful views of the Idrija Hills and the Idrijca River Valley.
In the past, the inhabitants of the Ledine Plateau used this road for their annual pilgrimages to the church of Mary-on-the-Rock in Spodnja Idrija. According to legend, the Virgin Mary heard their prayers and granted them protection from hail and a bountiful harvest. The trail leads past numerous chapels that harken to this historical tradition of pilgrimages. There, the pilgrims were able to spot the church for the first time in their journey (or the last time if they were leaving), and tradition would have them kneel or bow at the occasion. The chapels are still known to the locals as pokloni, meaning “kneelings” or “genuflections”.
The trail is still very popular among the locals for its picturesque sights and scenic views, and is also a challenge for mountain bikers.
You are welcome to take the journey on the old pilgrim’s road from Fara to Ledine.
Reaching the starting point: From Ljubljana, take the road to Idrija. When you reach Idrija, take a right turn at the third crossing with traffic lights toward Spodnja Idrija (4 km). At the beginning of Spodnja Idrija, before the bridge that crosses the Idrijca River (next to the store) take a right turn and park at the parking lot next to the Spodnja Idrija House of Culture. You can also cross the bridge, take a right turn right after the bridge, and park in a smaller parking lot next to the main road.
From the small parking lot next to the main road and the bridge crossing the Idrijca River, take the asphalt road uphill toward Pustota. After two sharp turns, you reach a crossroads, where you follow the sign Pot v Trnje and take a left turn. On your left, you should have the Kopa hill, and on your left, a meadow with a small hayrack.
Once you reach the signpost “Pot v staje”, take a right turn past a small hydroelectric power station and a house (the address is Pot v Trnje 27). Not long after passing that house, take a left turn and continue uphill, crossing a meadow to the next house, where you take another left turn to a gravel road leading uphill (above the gravel road you can see the pajštva – a fruit-drying shed with a canopy for drying flax). The gravel road leads to the Trnovše farmstead (built in 1798). Several meters above the farmstead, you will see a signpost – continue uphill on the gravel road. After 5 minutes of walking and a left turn, you will reach a crossroads where you leave the gravel road and take the forest path. Keep to the right. Higher up, you will pass an abandoned quarry. After that, you can continue on the right path (the path is hard to spot; you can also continue onward on the clear path, but that one is longer). Either path will take you to a large fir tree.
Continue the path along the ridge and after several meters of walking you reach the end of the ridge, where you can see the Chapel of the Virgin Mary (renovated in 2000). The chapel lies next to the shortest and oldest road between Spodnja Idrija and Ledine, on a straight line connecting the churches of Ledine and Spodnja Idrija. After you pass the chapel, take a hard left turn uphill (although taking the right turn also leads to the same spot higher up) and continue past the slope called Zgor v gmajn until you reach the Žorgovše farmstead (a renovated farmstead with a nice panoramic point next to the great linden tree). Continue going uphill on the gravel road past the Mills of Pečnik (first mentioned in documents in the nearby town of Škofja Loka in 1318) and a water reserve. Right next to the gravel road, before the first water reserve, you can find a brick resting chair.
The gravel road will lead you further uphill. Once you reach a wide meadow, cross it and reach the first houses at the village of Pečnik. At the first crossing between the houses, take a left turn and follow the road to the next crossing, where you take a right turn toward the village of Ledine. By prior arrangement, you can take a tour of a rich museum collection of farming tools and machines at the Pr’ Jureč agrotourism (Ledine 19).
To get back to the starting point, take the same road back to the first crossing and keep to the right. Follow the asphalt road to the farm where the road begins to descend and gradually turns into a gravel road. After several minuts of walking, you reach Šnitov rob (the path to the right leads to the panoramic point), where the serpentine road continues to lead you downwards. After approximately 10 minutes of walking, you will reach the orchard at Staje. Continue past the house, across the stream, and past the Stajer farmstead (a renovated house with a stable and hayrack). After several hundred meters, the road forks to the right toward Merkejce. Continue straight ahead on the gravel road. After approximately half an hour of walking, you will reach the Trne farmstead and the first houses. Take a right turn across the meadow and follow the asphalt road. At the fork in the road, keep to the left and descend downwards. On your right, you should have the Kopa hill, and on your left, a meadow with a small hayrack. At the crossing, keep to the right, and after several hundred meters you will reach the starting point in the old town center of Spodnja Idrija.