As you leave the old Furnazinhas primary school, take the paved road towards Malfrades and follow the path on the right towards Moinho Branco (White Mill).
The start of the route takes you along the banks of the Barranco da Balsa (Gully), which the route then crosses several times. Taking you past other gullies, this path quickly arrives at the Barranco da Maria Galega (Gully), whose waters form the main tributary flowing into the Foupana Stream. Heading up to Cortelha, you can enjoy views of the landscape before heading back down to cross the Barranco da Maria Galega (Gully) once again. This part of the path skirts an impressive escarpment, going on to arrive at the Chã de Lavajo Dam.
Further ahead, this route coincides with the GR13 – Via Algarviana, the long distance path, for around 1 km, though it splits off once it reaches a paved road, with this route taking you straight ahead. The route then follows the Barranco do Monte (Gully) to Furnazinhas, meandering through vegetable patches. Once the route reaches the Furnazinhas Cooperative and the well, take the left path back towards the paved road and the primary school.
WARNING: In the rainy season, some of the gullies may have a high volume of water making them difficult to cross. Before starting this trail, please check with members of the local population that it is safe to do so.
PORTELA DAS SOUDES (Soudes Portal)
The term “portal” here is used to mean a kind of imaginary “door”. After scaling the hill towards what looks like a “door or window”, you’ll find that upon reaching it you are transported into a completely
different landscape! This portal provides a view over the houses of the hamlet and surrounding landscape, including the Foupana drainage basin.
“PIÇARREIRA” (Shale ridge)
Name given to the outcrop of fine shales, like the one present along this route. This is where you can find “piçarras”, a term widely used in neighbouring Spain. In the past, pieces of shale were used to write on other rock, as if they were pencils.
“BARRANCO DA BALSA” Well
Public well. It was at this well that locals would let their animals stop for a drink before reaching the hamlet, and that women from the hamlet would wash clothes along the rocks.
“BARRANCO DA BALSA” (Gully)
The Barranco da Balsa (Gully) is formed from runoff from the entire surrounding area coming together. This gully later converges into the Barranco da Maria Galega (Gully). The torrential waters flowing down this gully and the way in which it meanders through the landscape have destroyed the path that once ran alongside it, so those following the route should walk along the banks of the gully for a stretch of 350 metres. You will cross the gully several times along this route. Particular note should be taken of the form the gully takes, and the vegetation that grows alongside it, giving it its unique identity.
The gullies are framed by the hills. The rock with the greatest resistance to erosion has led to a ledge forming at a height of almost six metres, which becomes a waterfall in the rainy season.
BARRANCO DA MARIA GALEGA (Gully)
The water flowing in this gully is the main tributary of the Foupana Stream in this area. The gully carries a significant volume of water and has developed dense vegetation along its banks. Periods of heavy rainfall may bring sudden, very rapid floods called “barrancadas”, which may even make it impossible to cross the gully. This gully eventually crosses into the municipality of Alcoutim, so you will only find yourself back in the municipality of Castro Marim after you have crossed back over the gully.
The characteristic features of the streams here are striking, from their morphology to the vegetation found along their banks. Up high, you will find an architectural ensemble that is interesting due to the quality of the construction and the sheer number of different uses provided for (a threshing floor, animal pen, hay barns and a residential house). This is also a privileged spot for panoramic views.
On the left side of the path is a uniquely beautiful escarpment that descends abruptly towards the Maria Galega gully.
CHÃ DE LAVAJO DAM
In addition to the gullies and streams, these small dams also make interesting wetland habitats.
BARRANCO DO MONTE (Gully)
This gully is so named because it formed in the hamlet of Monte das Furnazinhas. If you look closely, you will see that as the hamlet of Furnazinhas is located at a lower point, the water from all the higher
slopes that can be seen from it drains downhill into this gully. The path follows the gully, running either alongside the riverbed or on the steep, stony slopes. Fenced-in vegetable patches, small wells, vines and even a fruit tree or two can be found lining the banks of the gully.
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And have a nice walk!