Levadas e veredas, um modo de conhecer a Madeira, para todo o viandante que aprecia o repouso e o contacto directo com a natureza, frequentemente quase intocada desde os primórdios do povoamento.
Beginning at Achada do Teixeira this trail climbs up to the islands highest peak, Pico Ruivo (1861m).
Next to the Pico Ruivo government house you can gain access to 3 other trails that take the hiker to different parts of the island: PR 1 Pico do Areeiro footpath (5,1/6,4 Km), which takes you to Pico do Areeiro, the islands 2nd highest peak (1861m); PR 1.3 Encumeada Footpath (8.6 Km), goes along the central mountain range to the West; and PR 1.1- Ilha Footpath (8.2 Km), which descends to the parish of Ilha. Along the climb you will meet several shelters as the change in climate is sudden and sharp and the area often becomes covered in a sea of clouds or rests above it.
This area is part of the European network of important areas Natura 2000 and is known as the central mountain massif. It covers from the highest peaks to 1200m above sea level. It is characterised by herbaceous and bush vegetation that is well-adapted to big temperature variations, heavy rains and strong winds, and is where you can find many types of heather (Erica scoparia ssp maderensis and Erica aborea), which many years ago were used to produce charcoal.
The trail climbs along the ridge that separates the cliffs of Faial and those of Santana, and so allows for an excellent view to the left of the Ribeira Seca valley, topped by Pico das Torres, and Pico do Areeiro in the background. On the right-hand side you can see the gables of the Santana mountain range, from where in the distance you can see the Queimadas Forest Park and further ahead Achada do Marques (a small hamlet known for its straw lofts and traditional fields), which appears in the centre of the Ribeira dos Arcos valley. Towards the interior we can see the Ribeira Grande valley that begins at the mouths of Caldeirão Verde and Caldeirão do Inferno.
When visibility is good to the East you can see the rocky outcrop of Penha dÁguia, the Funduras mountain range and part of the S. Lourenço Point (far eastern part of Madeira island).
At Achada do Teixeira you can also visit the Standing Man (Homem em pé), a basalt formation which you will find walking down the cliff, after passing the Achada do Teixeira government house.
This trail begins at the Queimadas Forestry Park and winds along the walkway of the levada of Caldeirão Verde at 990 m elevation, in the municipality of Santana.
The levada of Caldeirão Verde is an impressive work of art built in the 18th century that begins in the main stream bed of the Caldeirão Verde brook. Passing through steep cliffs and mountains, it carries the water that runs off the highest mountains of Madeira, to be used to irrigate the farm lands of the parish of Faial.
This levada is used for agricultural purposes, but it is also an important means of reaching the interior of the deep valley of the São Jorge brook on foot, offering the traveler a vertiginous and spectacular view of the mountainous terrain of the interior of the island and the opportunity to walk through tunnels carved by hand out of the rock.
At the Queimadas Forestry Park there is a shelter (Casa de Abrigo das Queimadas), which retains the original features of the typical houses of Santana, including a marvelous thatched roof.
Worthy of mention are the excellent specimens of elegant Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) with their dense reddish foliage, Canary Island junipers (Juniperus cedrus), Madeira laurel (Ocotea foetens), Pau branco or southern olive (Picconia excelsa), hundred-year-old broom heath (Erica scoparia) as well as some specimens of lily-of-the-valley tree (Clethra arborea), and Madeira blueberry (Vaccinium padifolium), which can be seen along the trail.
Species of indigenous avifauna that can be seen include the chaffinch (Frigila coelebs), the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis), the Madeira long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz trocaz), grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea schmitzi), and the buzzard (Buteo buteo harteti).
Close to the Queimadas Park one can see off to the side a small settlement called Achada do Marques, a site that has been designated as Protected landscape, noted for its traditional farm terraces and old stone cow huts.
After you pass through the 4 tunnels on the route, Caldeirão Verde appears on the left of the levada and one has only to climb a few metres along the stream bed to reach it.
The Caldeirão Verde lake is formed by water that falls from the bed of the Caldeirão Verde stream bed from a height of approximately 100m.
Indulge yourself and revel in the surrounding scenery and catch your breath for the return trip.
This trail begins at Ribeiro Frio in the municipality of Santana and follows the pathway accompanying the levada of Serra do Faial at an elevation of 860 metres up to the station where the waters divide, descending from there to the area of Lamaceiros and terminating at the Portela belvedere in the municipality of Machico.
The Levada do Furado, which begins at Ribeiro Frio, is one of the oldest levadas belonging to the state, having been acquired through a contract signed in 1822 between the first Count of Carvalhal and the Board of the Royal Treasury, for the purpose of irrigating the farmlands of Porto da Cruz. Due to its connection with the levadas of Juncal and of Serra do Faial, which join it soon after its beginning and continue on beyond its terminal point at Lamaceiros, it is said that this levada carries three waters: the water that is gathered in the valley of Ribeiro Frio and irrigates the terraces of Porto da Cruz; and those that come from the mountains of Santana and are stored in the reservoir at Santo da Serra for later distribution.
Along this levada you will note the manifold tones of green presented by this well-preserved zone of the islands native forest the Laurisilva made up predominantly of the laurel, or bay tree (Laurus azorica), the lily-of-the-valley tree (Clethra arborea), the Madeira laurel (Ocotea foetens), Madeira mahogany (Persea indica), as well as the yellow, or Madeira foxglove (Isoplexis sceptrum), the pride of Madeira (Echium candicans), Mandon´s Chrysanthemum (Argyranthemum pinnatifidum), and the Madeiran orchid (Dactylorhiza foliosa).
One may see the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis), the smallest bird residing in Madeira, and the intrepid chaffinch (Fringila coelebs maderensis). Less likely to be seen is the Madeira long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz trocaz), a species endemic to Madeira.
The landscape is dominated by the valley of Ribeiro Frio, with the amazing farm fields of Faial, São Roque do Faial and Porto da Cruz. The spectacular rock formation of Penha de Águia protects the bay of Faial to the east, and to the west the Ponta dos Clérigos.
It is at Lamaceiros that the waters are separated and here ends the Furado Levada and the descent to Portela begins. Crossing the forested area of Lamaceiros and passing the Forestry Station of Lamaceiros, the trail follows a dirt road until it meets the Portela Levada, which goes around the left side of Lombo das Faias, coming to an end where it meets the Regional Highway ER102.