Common trail and prohibition signs

Here are some of the more common signs that you will find on Spanish trails. Please note that this is not exhaustive and are limited somewhat to my own travels.But you should get the idea. I’ll order them as ‘statutory’ – meaning ‘That’s the law!’ –  and ‘advisory’ – which are for information only but may have some legal comeback, e.g. private property signs.

This is the 'standard' prohibition sign on the trails. Most have some sort of modifier or extra advice, in this case saying, 'Closed access' and 'No entry'. Others include 'Solo vecinos', meaning residents only (Veins in Catalan) or 'Autorzados', meaning authorised users.Conventional 'No Entry' and No Through Road' signs are also used but this is less common
This is the ‘standard’ prohibition sign on the trails. Most have some sort of modifier or extra advice, in this case saying, ‘Closed access’ and ‘No entry’. Others include ‘Solo vecinos’, meaning residents only (Veins in Catalan) or ‘Autorzados’, meaning authorised vehicles and personnel.

Prohibition signs: these follow the EU standard designs. The ‘standard’ above seems to be the most common but normal European ‘No Entry’ and No Through Road’ signs are also used – or incorporated into more complex signs as seen below:

Big prohibition
There’s really no mistaking the meaning of this one: not only does the conventional ‘No Entry’ sign appear and the sketch of the 4×4 rumbling across rough terrain with a big red ‘X’ over it but at the bottom the chapter and verse of the prohibition regulations appear – I suspect the official line is, “Take no prisoner’s” in this case! It’s an interesting point that this appears on the Vibraction RB5 trans-Pyrenean route!

Some trails are prohibited in times of high fire risk, animal breeding seasons, etc. and have provisional signs. So in route planning you have to be prepared to abandon a trail like this on the day:

Temp prohibition
Signs like this are padlocked shut when not in use and open out to look just like permanent signs, usually with an explanation for the prohibition.

Direction signs indicate a right of way irrespective of whether a trail is surfaced. The first here is a standard Spanish road sign, whereas the second are a new type that seems to be used on minor  roads and trails:

Road sign
Bog standard Spanish road sign – these are usually on surfaced roads but nevertheless do appear on trails – but remember that trails rules, especially speed limits (30 kph) apply!
Rural road sign
Rural roads signs to habitable villages – even though these villages are often uninhabited! – clearly indicate right of way for vehicles.
Temporary signs, e.g road works and diversions, are nevertheless statutory – although in this case where a new road was being dynamited, a quick word with the site foreman, who was about to go for lunch, got me the go-ahead!

Advisory signs:

The green sign above is strictly speaking an advisory sign, but I guess the ‘No Entry’ sign within it does have statutory meaning. But this doesn’t mean that all such signs prohibit biking.

Trail start sign
This information sign specifically refers to walking and BTT routes (‘Bici Todo-terreno’, i.e. Mountain bikes) but in fact all of the trails are genuine rights of way for motors.
Signs pointing to Heritage sites normally, but not necessarily, indicate a right of way. This is a new style, older signs are brown.
Hydro sign 2
The ‘H’ stands for ‘hidrologia’ and is a water deposit for the fire services. It’s for their information but also prohibits any form of stopping, i.e. blocking the trail – for obvious reason! Trails to these locations are maintained in perfect condition.

There are a wide variety of advisory signs that don’t have any impact on the right of way. This is bound to be a growing collection. But the sign below seems to cause a great deal of confusion, mainly because you see variations of them everywhere! These signs refer to hunting rights, not land ownership, and do not normally imply any restriction on riding. The only exception to this is that these hunting grounds (cota Sp. = range or reserve) are numbered into given parcels. Hence if you apply for permission to ride in groups or hold a rally you may find given zones out of bounds if a hunt has already been organised there – but if just a few riders genuinely stumble on a hunt there’s no problem -. just don’t dress like a Red Deer 🙂

Cota de caça
I was very pleased to find this example as it contains elements that usually appear on their own: top left – the ID of the hunting zone, top right – common symbol usually seen on trees, gateposts, etc., bottom: says that the hunting is a private concession, as opposed to public, which are normally ‘Cota de Caza’ (Caça is Catalan)

Local and ‘Home made’ signs:

The various nature reserves have their own signs and of course private landowners are a law unto themselves! These signs are impossible to enumerate by their very nature. Here are a few examples:

The Bardenas Reales natural park – NB, not National Park! – has its own system for signing trails where motors are allowed. The little ‘obelisks’ have a plaque indicating the trail and another to show which of the numerous BTT routes it is.
I just love this sign – and its terrible spelling in Catalan – worse than mine! Seriously, on the ground this trail looked more promising than the genuine trail, but ends in a farmyard a kilometre further down the track.
‘Danger, dangerous cattle!’ speaks for itself at a ‘hacienda’ that breeds fighting bulls!