Levadas e Valados (Irrigation channels and drystone walls) | Fonte Benémola, Loulé
Audio guided route to discover the surprising and verdant Benémola and the traditional gadgets for using water, such as norias, irrigation channels and mills.
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipality: Loulé; Fonte Benémola Protected Local Landscape.
Accessible by car
From Loulé take the EN 396 towards Barranco do Velho – Querença. Turn left towards Querença and follow the road until you see the sign for “Fonte Benémola” on the right. Follow the dirt track and park in the second car park, where you should see two signs, one for a car park and the other indicating a dead end.
Starting Point
Finishing point
Car park.
Type of route
Circular
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipality: Loulé; Fonte Benémola Protected Local Landscape.
Accessible by car
From Loulé take the EN 396 towards Barranco do Velho – Querença. Turn left towards Querença and follow the road until you see the sign for “Fonte Benémola” on the right. Follow the dirt track and park in the second car park, where you should see two signs, one for a car park and the other indicating a dead end.
Starting Point
Finishing point
Car park.
Type of route
Circular
Minimum Altitude
133 m
Maximum Altitude
156 m
Length
2.70 km
Time required
1h-1h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
53 m
Cumulative elevation loss
53 m
Minimum Altitude
133 m
Maximum Altitude
156 m
Length
2.70 km
Time required
1h-1h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
53 m
Cumulative elevation loss
53 m
Description of Itinerary

Download the audioguide before you start the walk:

  • MP3 file: 42 Mb
  • MP4 file: 121 Mb

           

Turn right when you leave the car park, and you’ll find Point 1. Keep going, and you’ll cross the stream called Ribeira da Chapa, then turn left at the junction (follow Connection 2 of the Via Algarviana). At the bottom of a gentle downhill section, you’ll reach a junction where you can either go straight on or turn left. Go straight ahead and you’ll find the irrigation channel on your right, channelling water straight from the spring. The sign signalling Point 2 should be easy to find here: "A Nascente" (The Spring).

Make your way back to the junction and turn left this time. You’ll find the spring itself, which can be accessed via some stairs. At the spring, take the right path between Ribeira de Menalva (Menalva Stream) and the irrigation channel. When you reach the ruins of a water mill, follow the path between it and the wall to find a noria on your right. This is where you’ll find Point 3. Keep going along the path, which is walled on both sides, until you reach the main path.

When you reach the main road, turn right, where you’ll find Point 4; this is the path you took at the start of the trail. At the junction, turn right towards the car park, and you’re back to the starting point. Now follow the road you drove along earlier.

Take the second path on the right, where you’ll find a narrow trail going downhill, about 60 metres from the car park. You’ll find Point 5 at the end of the path, as well as a noria. Keep the noria on your right as you follow the path to the left. You should see the stream on your right and a canal on your left. You will have to cross this canal farther on, taking all necessary precautions.

On the other side, you’ll find a sign with Point 6 on it, and yet another noria. Take the path in front of you (alongside the noria wall), and you’ll find yourself at the irrigation channel once again. Keep on, in the same direction.

Farther ahead, the irrigation channel veers right, while you take a path to left that heads uphill. Follow the main trail uphill until you reach the main path, which is walled on one side. Turn left here and keep on the main path until you get back to the starting point.

 

 

What will I see?

Flora

  • Almond Tree - Prunus dulcis
  • Bee Orchid - Ophrys apifera
  • Interwoven Honeysuckle - Lonicera implexa
  • Strawberry Tree - Arbutus unedo

Fauna

  • European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
  • Jay - Garrulus glandarius
  • Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
  • Eurasian Otter - Lutra lutra
  • Golden Oriole - Oriolus oriolus
  • Hoopoe - Upupa epops

Hydraulic engines

  • Norias
  • Irrigation channels
  • Water tanks
  • Mills, dams, water mines, wells, aqueducts, irrigation channels, canals, cisterns, spouts and fountains.

 

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Along the route you will be instructed to pause the audio guide until you reach a certain location;
  • Even if not instructed to do so, you should pause the audio guide if you have not yet reached the location being described, as there may discrepancies between the audio timings and the time it takes you to get to certain locations;
  • Always keep as close to the edge of the path as you can. Only authorised vehicles are allowed into this area;
  • Obey the signs placed around the Protected Area.
Useful contact information
  • Loulé Town Hall: (+351) 289 400 600
  • Almargem Association: (+351) 289 412 959
  • Loulé Health Centre: (+351) 289 401 000
  • Loulé Municipal Firefighters: (+351) 289 400 560
  • National Republican Guard – Loulé: (+351) 289 410 490
  • If you see a fire, call: 117
  • In the event of an emergency, call: 112
Downloads
Leaflet with Map
MP3 (42 Mb, audio): Levadas e Valados
MP4 (121 Mb, audio+video, for Smartphone - 720x406): Levadas e Valados
Track GPX: Levadas e Valados
Track KML: Levadas e Valados