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.
The trail follows S. Lourenço Point, the eastern-most peninsula of Madeira island, named after the caravel sailed by João Gonçalves de Zarco, one of the three discoverers of Madeira island, who on coming near this piece of land shouted to his ship São Lourenço, thats enough!. This peninsula is volcanic in origin, and is mainly made of basalt, although there are also some limestone sediment formations. At the end of the Point there are two islets: the Cevada, Metade or Desembarcadouros Islet, and the S. Lourenço Point, Farol or For a Islet. The stone partition marks where the Regional governments land begins, and is part of the Madeira Natural Park. The peninsula is classified as a partial natural reserve and the Desembarcadouro Islet is a total natural reserve. All the land and sea by the North coast, up to a depth of 50m, is part of the European network of important community sites - Natura 2000.
The semi-arid climate and its exposure to North winds have sculpted the low vegetation and explain the lack of trees, which distinguish this area from the rest of the Island and is a veritable natural heritage. Here you can see the Islands basal plate at its best and several rare and endemic plants. Of the 138 species of plant identified on the peninsula, 31 are endemic (exclusive) to Madeira island. In terms of fauna there is one of the largest colonies of seagull (Larus cachinnans atlantis) in the region, which nests on the Desembarcadouro islet.
Along the route you can often see several bird species such as the Berthelots Pipit (Anthus berthelotti madeirensis), the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis parva), the Common Canary (Serinus canaria canaria), and the Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis). Protected marine birds also nest here such as Corys Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea borealis), the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma castro), Bulwers Petrel, (Bulweria bulwerii), and the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo). The Madeiran lizard (Lacerta dugesii), which is the islands only reptile, is very common here. Another interesting aspect of this area is the high number of endemic land molluscs (24), commonly known as snails.
In the sea, you may be lucky enough to spot the worlds rarest seal, known in Madeira as a Sea-wolf (Monachus monachus).
At the end of the trail, you can dive in the Sardinha port, named after the old owners.
The Sardinha house is the base for a group of Rangers who work for the Madeira natural park, and who are responsible for watching over the area.
On the horizon to the South you can see Ilhas Desertas (Deserted Islands) and to the North the Porto Santo Islands.
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 route links the settlement of Ribeira da Janela and the forested area above it, running at elevations between 820 and 400 metres. It begins at regional highway 209, in the area of Curral Falso, and ends at the same highway in the settlement of Ribeira da Janela.
This path follows the remnants of an old footpath used by the inhabitants to bring wood from the forest, which was essential for their daily lives. It was also the path used by the inhabitants to connect them with settlements on the south side of the island, mainly Calheta and Ponta do Sol. Robust young men climbed the mountain slopes, their backs laden with barrels or goatskins filled with wine to be sold and/or traded for other goods.
At Ribeira da Janela you can come in contact with this traditional and unique agricultural area with its typical terraced farm plots, held in place by laboriously built stone walls, where sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, maize and the indispensable vineyards of Ribeira da Janela are cultivated.
The houses are scattered among the terraces, from the mouth of the stream to an elevation of 400 metres, with the church located halfway up the slope. The settlements name, Ribeira da Janela, comes from the name of Madeira´s longest waterway, which runs about 15.7 km.
This is a good location for seeing the Madeira long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz), an endemic bird exclusive to Madeira. During the migratory seasons, some migrating bird species may be seen in the mouth of Ribeira da Janela as they pass through: the little egret (Egretta garzetta), the purple heron (Ardea purpurea), and mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).
This trail connects with PR 14 Cedros Levada and PR 13 Fanal Footpath, both of which lead to the area of Fanal.