The main road between Bodrum and Turgutreis is now almost continuously lined with shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets and shopping malls. The land behind these palaces of consumerism is also filling up with housing so it’s encouraging to see that a new route is opening up in the hills behind all this development; a path that will hopefully be forever bordered by only trees, grass and clouds. Initiated by The Bodrum Chamber of Commerce (BODTU) and supported by The South Aegean Development Agency (GEKA), a total of 185 kms of pathway is planned to link the Lelegian hillfort settlements around Bodrum.
At the end of March, the first 8 km stage was unveiled to the public and the opening ceremony was so well attended that walkers experienced a two-legged traffic jam as crowds attempted to be first to walk the new route. The week-end after the opening, there was an encouraging number of ramblers attempting the path. (I assume and hope they weren’t left over from the opening ceremony)
A lot of work has gone into the preparation of path; it has been cleared of brambles and branches and lined with stones and is well marked with blue and white arrows - very easy to follow for people like me who get easily lost. If you have the Carian Trail guidebook, this new section of the Lelegian way carries on from where the Carian trail ends in Pedasa, above modern Konacık.
Lelegian towns flourished up to the 4th century BCE, until the point Mausolos ordered all but two be depopulated to boost the inhabitants of his new capital Halicarnassus. The eventual Lelegian Path will begin in Theangela, the site above Etrim village but the first stage to open starts above the ruins of the Temple of Athena in Pedasa . This may prove to be a drawback to the overall success of the route as there is a dispute between the owners of the land where Pedasa stands and the car park has been closed to traffic. Those driving to the start of the walk at Pedasa have to be pretty nimble at 3-point turns on a steep narrow hillside road if they want to park nearby. The alternative is to park lower down the entrance road (at the fork with benches) and walk up 1.5 km, which is my preferred option because as much as I love hill forts, hill-starts were never my forte, or join the route further along and park on the road past the mosque in the centre of Konacık.
This map is from the Lelegian Path Facebook page where you can see lots of photos of the opening event and pictures of volunteers preparing the new route.
More about Pedasa and Lelegians