Vale Seco » Cercal do Alentejo

The Historical Way Stage

23 Km

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 dehesa 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.

Where to start

Vale Seco
On the N120 road, between Cercal and Santiago, on the road to the Campilhas reservoir. 1st crossroads on the dirt track.

Cercal do Alentejo
From the roundabout of Cercal do Alentejo (Largo dos Caeiros), head towards to the church.

Datasheet

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: 2

Extension: 23KM
Approximate duration: 6.5hours

Accumulated ascent: 200M
Accumulated descent: 250M

Maximum ALTITUDE: 210M
Minimum ALTITUDE: 110M

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

Refreshments along the way
At km8, you’ll pass Vale das Éguas village.

Warnings

In this area there are 3 Circular Routes. Pay attention to the marking and consider extending your stay.

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