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.
This trail begins at Moledo, next to the Regional Highway and continues up the forestry road, with two alternative routes to follow, either along the north side or the south side of Pico do Facho. The latter has the distinction of being the longest footpath of Porto Santo Island.
As we cross the central zone of the island at the base of Pico do Facho, we can see traces of old farmlands and of the hard work of building the cut stone walls, and contemplate the amazing effort made by man to reforest the island.
At the top of Pico Castelo, you will come upon a statue in honour of António Schiappa de Azevedo, the driving force behind the reforestation of Porto Santo. This process of arborisation has helped control the effects of erosion that are seen on this island. Some exotic species were introduced, whose wild nature is more resistant to the adverse conditions, examples being the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), the Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and the Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa).
Indigenous species that can be found include the dragon tree (Dracaena draco), the olive tree (Olea maderensis sp), the holm oak (Quercus ilex ssp. rotundifolia), some fire trees (Myrica faya), broom heath (Erica scoparia) and pride of Madeira (Echium nervosum).
The walk affords magnificent views and the opportunity to come in contact with the fauna of the island, observing flocks of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa hispanica), birds of prey such as the common buzzard (Buteo buteo harterti) and the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis), the colourful house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the impressive hoopoe (Upupa epops).
After the climb to the top of Pico Castelo, you reach the end of the trail at the Canhão Belvedere and have a view of the city of Vila Baleira and in the background almost the entire length of the island. In the distance you can make out the Deserted Islands and Madeira.
The name Pico Castelo dates from the 15th century and derives from the fact that there was a fort there where the local inhabitants took refuge when they were attacked by French pirates or Algerians. Its central location and greater ease of organising the defence of the people made it a true Castle.
This trail begins at Ginjas in the municipality of São Vicente and follows the walkway beside the Fajã do Rodrigues levada or the Fajã da Ama Levada, the two names by which it is known, ending at the source of the levada in Ribeira do Inferno.
This levada lies at an elevation of 580 metres and has its source in the bed of the Ribeira do Inferno stream, which separates the lands of Seixal from those of São Vicente and winds across ridges and through small valleys up to Rosário, to be used for the irrigation of the farm fields of São Vicente.
The exotic forest which you encounter at the beginning of the trail, with maritime pines (Pinus pinaster) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), precedes the dense vegetation characteristic of the native forest the Laurisilva, World Nature Heritage of UNESCO since December 1999.
Waterfalls and frequent streams guarantee vitality to the species such as the Canary willow (Salix canariensis), as well as the large Madeira laurel (Ocotea foetens), Madeira mahogany (Persea indica), and the Lily-of-the-Valley tree (Clethra arborea) that abound along the levada. Youll also notice the flowering species, such as geraniums (Geranium palmatum), Mandons Chrysanthemum (Argyranthemum pinnatifidum), Madeiran orchid (Dactylorhiza foliosa), and Canary buttercup (Ranunculus cortusifolius), easily recognised by their bright yellow flowers.
Tunnels are common along this levada, and as you pass between the many, long tunnels, you will have a chance to appreciate the beautiful panoramic views of the São Vicente Valley landscape.
You may catch sight of some of the birds that inhabit the areas that border this trail, from chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs maderensis), to the tiny birds such as the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus maderensis), which give life to this ecosystem and please the ear with their songs.
Let yourself be enthralled by the scenery that surrounds you, as you wonder at the valleys that drop down to the bed of the stream 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.