Sabóia >> Odemira

The Historical Way Stage

33 Km

In the unique waters of the Mira, you can find in abundance everything from fish, to tortoises, to water snakes and otters. The riparian vegetation, dominated by poplars, ash trees, alders, reeds and willows, is a place of refuge and breeding for many species of birds, insects and bats. Wetland reeds and rushes near the shores are essential for migratory birds. Some of these floodplain areas were transformed into agricultural meadows with fresh, fertile soils.

In contrast, the slopes adjacent to the river are arid with sparse, poor soil. As the great 20th century Portuguese writer, Miguel Torga, once wrote, erosion “took all the flesh and left only the bones.” The cork oak is one of the few trees that manages to live with so little, dominating along these slopes overlooking the river. The bark of its trunks, the cork, has great importance in the local economy. The first harvest of cork occurs when the trunk is 70 cm in diameter and 25 to 30 years old. That is why the cork oaks are said to be planted for the grandchildren. The second cork is removed 9 to 10 years later, but the next runs are of higher value. The cork tree has a longevity of 150 to 200 years and its cork can be removed about 15 to 17 times. The harvesting takes place between June and August, a period in which the cork comes off more easily. This is a very specialized job, because it is necessary to peel the cork tree without hurting it.

The rural Alentejo is described by Miguel Torga as a “free world, without walls, that let all the invasions pass and remained untouched, oblivious to the mutations of history.” It is this integrity, but also this toughness and solitude, that can be felt as you walk through some large local agricultural estates, which once functioned as tiny villages with a church and a school.

The landscape of this seemingly unchanging trail hides an unbelievable natural history. Here lived mammoths, elephants, bears, and lions who dwelled in the caves. The appearance and extinction of these large mammals were related to the climatic oscillations of the last two million years, during which more than sixty glacial periods were interrupted by short warm periods.

Where to start

Sabóia
At the train station of Santa Clara-Sabóia.

Odemira
At the roundabout with the iron tree sculpture, next to the gas station.

Datasheet

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: 3

Extension: 33KM
Approximate duration: 10hours

Accumulated ascent: 550M
Accumulated descent: 600M

Maximum ALTITUDE: 100M
Minimum ALTITUDE: 10M

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.

Tips

This route can be shortened by 2 km if you start in Sabóia.

Warnings

► At the beginning of the hike, there are several intersections with Circular Routes. Pay attention to the signage and consider prolonging your stay in this area to hike some or all of these unique routes.

► This route is very long and currently has no locations or amenities for overnight stays or meals. Bring food and water. When walking the route, make sure to keep all gates and fences closed.

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