loulé pr 11, amendoeira, 7,9 km
The circuit of streams (rota das ribeiras) is a series of 3 well signposted walking routes within the Querença parish of the council of Loulé. Circular route pr 11 leaves from the small village of Amendoeira, east from main road 396 between Loulé and Barranco do Velho. The starting point is just passed the bus stop and Café Mateus.
The walk takes us first in southern direction towards Carvalhal. Walking slightly uphill, away from the valley, but a pleasant start on single track with dry stone walls on both sides. On some stretches the walls are in better shape then others which makes it necessary to navigate around and over a couple of big stones that are blocking the path. On entering the São Clemente parish at Carvalhal the route turns north taking a rough descent back into the valley in the middle of typical barrocal vegetation. There's some well maintained fields with almond, carob and olive and orange trees. We also pass aparently abandoned plots with, cork, arbutus unedo (medronheiro), dwarf palm, thyme, rosemary, furze, honeysuckle, bower vine and mastic growing abundantly.
After a flat bit on the Amendoeira road we start climbing the Cerro da Zorra until Alcaria do Gato. From here we descend towards the Mercês river having great views of the Cerro dos Negros on the other riverside. We are on a location where the limestone barrocal area changes into schist rock soil from the Algarvian mountain range. The Mercês river is a grateful recipient for lots of water coming from the mountainsides and several springs. Its fertility is proved by the many vegetable gardens and water distribution systems on the river banks. The typical concrete path on the south side makes them well accessible. Entering this path the walking route turns right in direction of Almarjão. However not far down stream walkers can visit the Ti Casinha water mill and restaurant first before heading for Fonte Felipe at Almarjão which is one of the springs feeding the Mercês river.
At Almarjão the walk makes a nice turn passing some farms and we cross the Mercês river again, now by stepping a few big stones. The following single track on the other side is marvelous since many attempts has been done by previous generations of farmers to facilitate the ascent by paving it with the irregular shaped limestone rocks from the area. Nowadays inhabitants seem to have given up this complicated job, but the path still makes a beautiful connection back to Amendoeira village. At the indication before the last turn to the village one can still walk an extra bit to observe the impressively curved ancient carob trees, characteristic for this pretty area.
Distance: 7,88 km.
Accumulated ascent: 150 m.
- Difficulty: 2/5
- Scenery: 3/5
Points of interest:
- Several springs along the track, Fonte Felipe, Fonte do Ribeiro and Fonte de Amendoeira
- Water mill at the Mercês river Moinho Ti Casinha
- A number of beautiful carob trees just before the end of the walking route at Amendoeira
- Barrocal, Natura 2000, PTCON0049, www.icnb.pt
Food and drinks:
- Café Mateus, near the starting point in Amendoeira
- Restaurante Ti Casinha, at the Mercês river, just off the walking track
Track author: Querença parish of the municipality of Loulé, www.cm-loule.pt