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Rurality

At the beginning of the route you will pass by small agricultural properties, and will get a close up of the rhythm of country life and the people who live here. This is a pure, sometimes lonely Alentejo, where it is worth stopping at the cafes for a chat and a lot of conventional wisdom

Campilhas dam

Campilhas dam, built in 1954, is the ideal spot for a stop and a picnic – or even a refreshing swim on hotter days. Please help us conserve the area and don’t litter.

Biodiversity

Despite the barrenness that is felt on this route, especially during the dry season, there is an enormous wealth in terms of the diversity of plants and animals. In just 0.1 hectares, (1,200 sq yards), of pasture associated with cork oak forests, there can be as many as a hundred plant species

A semi natural ecosystem

The Mediterranean climate enjoyed by this area was always an attraction, and thus it has been inhabited continuously since mankind first left Africa. In most places mankind and wildlife co-exist harmoniously. Desertification and abandoning of land in inland areas are a real threat to these very rich and unique habitats.

Historical Way


 

Vale Seco » Cercal do Alentejo

23 km

 
 
 

This is the most arid section of Rota Vicentina. It crosses a profoundly agricultural and rural Alentejo where, in spite the proximity to the ocean, you will be able to smell the fragrances and feel the might of this inland area. At Campilhas Dam, make a pause for a picnic and a dip on hotter days

 



 
OPEN MAP

The scenery on the first half of this section of the Rota Vicentina may seem arid and even desolate. This is a sad reflection upon the threat that the Montados face as it is the death and decline of these natural forests, which has been brought about by natural disease, poor management and the decline in the early part of the 21st century of cork’s use as a stopper in wine bottles.

But the dryness along the entire trail, especially during the dry season has another cause. This part of Portugal has an extreme Mediterranean-style climate with a rainy season concentrated in just three or four months. This hot dry climate with torrential rain concentrated in short bursts results in some spectacular scenery, sometimes arid but always interesting, changing according to the season.

The southern half of the section is particularly interesting because of what ecologists call a “mosaic” of habitats. The mosaic here is made up of stands of forest separated by open fields of low intensity cereal and cattle farming with small streams, watercourses and even the odd patch of reed-ringed marsh. The mosaic promotes a wide diversity of both scenery and bio-diversity.

Along the way you will find olive groves, orchards, hedged vegetable gardens, small ponds and some beautiful rocky outcrops.

 

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Tips


Refreshments along the way

At km 8, you’ll pass Vale das Éguas village.


Accommodation in Vale Seco

Vale Seco has few accommodations in the area. Request a transfer or taxi to reach the chosen accommodation, or opt to sleep in Santiago do Cacém or Cercal do Alentejo.

 

 
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Where to start

Vale Seco:

On the N120 between Cercal and Santiago, take the road to the Campilhas reservoir. The route begins near the 1st crossroads of the dirt track encountered.

Cercal do Alentejo: 

From the roundabout of Cercal do Alentejo, head towards to the Church, where you will find the route markers.

Fact Sheet

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY
DISTANCE: 23 KM
APPROXIMATE DURATION: 6 HOURS
ACCUMULATED CLIMB: 199 M
ACCUMULATED DESCENT: 248 M
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE: 214 M
MINIMUM ALTITUDE: 114 M
RECOMMENDED SEASON:
SEPTEMBER TILL JUNE
 

RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

THE CIRCULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES PUTS WALKERS AT RISK
AVOID DOING THE HISTORICAL WAY ON A MOTOR CYCLE OR IN A JEEP, LOOK INTO OTHER OPTIONS
DO NOT LIGHT FIRES
SEVERAL FARMS AND CATTLE HERDS ARE PROTECTED BY GUARD DOGS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
BE CAUTIOUS WITH CATTLE, ALTHOUGH GENTLE, THEY DO NOT LIKE STRANGERS APPROACHING THEIR CALVES.
THESE TRAILS PASS BY PRIVATE PROPERTY. RESPECT IT AND CLOSE GATES AND FENCES YOU WILL FIND ON THE WAY.
THERE ARE VERY FEW SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE TRAILS. BRING WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES WITH YOU.
IN SOME PARTS OF THE TRAILS YOU WILL HAVE TO CROSS PAVED ROADS. BE CAREFUL!
YOU WILL FIND SEVERAL LOCATIONS IDEAL FOR PICNICS. DO NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE TRASH BEHIND.
BE FRIENDLY WITH THE LOCALS, TELL THEM WHY YOU’RE THERE AND SHARE EXPERIENCES.
 




 

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