Levada do MoinhoLevadas Walks 

Levada do Moinho

The Levada do Moinho, which translates to the “Mill Levada,” is a fascinating journey through Madeira’s verdant landscapes, rich history, and architectural heritage. This lesser-known trail offers a unique glimpse into the island’s past, where water mills were an integral part of local life, utilizing the power of flowing water for grinding grain.

Highlights of the Levada do Moinho

  • Historical Insights: The Levada do Moinho owes its name to the numerous water mills (“moinhos”) that once dotted its course. Although many of these mills are no longer in operation, their remnants provide a window into the agricultural practices and daily life in Madeira’s countryside.
  • Natural Beauty: The trail meanders through lush vegetation, including terraced fields, gardens, and patches of forest, offering a showcase of the island’s flora. The levada’s path allows for an intimate connection with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist spots.
  • Spectacular Views: Along the route, hikers are treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, with occasional glimpses of the ocean in the distance. The natural scenery provides a tranquil backdrop for a day of exploration.

Trail Details

  • Difficulty: The Levada do Moinho is considered to be of moderate difficulty. It includes some narrow paths and sections with steep drops, so caution is advised, especially for those with a fear of heights.
  • Length and Duration: The trail’s length can vary, but it typically offers a walking experience of several hours, allowing hikers to immerse themselves fully in the environment and the historical context of the area.
  • Accessibility: Access to the Levada do Moinho can be found in various locations. The trail is relatively well-maintained, but like many levada walks, it may have sections that require careful navigation.

Preparation Tips

  • Footwear: Durable, non-slip hiking shoes are a must, as the path can be wet and slippery in places.
  • Safety: A flashlight or headlamp is recommended for exploring any tunnels along the route, and a walking stick can aid stability on uneven terrain.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no facilities along the trail. A packed lunch is a great idea to enjoy a scenic stop.
  • Camera: The scenic beauty and historical elements of the Levada do Moinho make it a photographer’s delight, so a camera is essential.

PR 7 – Levada do Moinho offers an immersive hiking experience that intertwines the natural beauty and historical essence of Madeira. This 10.5 km trail, estimated to take about 3:30 hours, commences at the regional road ER 101, which marks the boundary between Porto Moniz and Calheta, near Ribeira da Cruz. The journey through Levada do Moinho (also known as Levada Grande) provides a direct connection to the island’s rich tapestry of nature and history.

Historical Significance

The name “Levada do Moinho” reflects its historical role in supporting several water mills along its course. Hikers have the unique opportunity to discover the ruins of these mills, such as the Achadas mill, the Cancelas mill, and the Levada Grande mill. These mills, funded by local individuals, highlight the historical value of water as an exclusive and precious resource in Madeira. The levada is enveloped in folk tales, offering a narrative that deeply connects the trail to the people of Madeira.

Levada do Moinho
Levada do Moinho 3

Trail Experience

The trail is categorized as moderate difficulty, making it accessible to hikers with some experience. It predominantly runs through the green expanse of the Laurissilva forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, allowing hikers to be in direct contact with Madeira’s lush vegetation nearly throughout the entire route. The trail concludes at Tornadouro, in Junqueira, showcasing the intricate network of branches carrying water to irrigation tanks, a testament to the ingenious use of the island’s water resources.

Important Trail Information

  • Distance: 10.5 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: Approximately 3:30 hours
  • Start/End Points: Ribeira da Cruz (E.R. 101) / Junqueira (Tornadouro)
  • Altitude: Max. 940 m / Min. 504 m

This trail offers a perfect blend of Madeira’s natural landscapes and historical insights, with its path through dense Laurissilva forest and the remnants of water mills that once dotted the landscape. Unique images and experiences gained from this hike will surely linger in memory.

Best Time to Visit

While the Levada do Moinho can be enjoyed year-round, the best times to visit are spring and autumn when the weather is mild, and the natural landscape is at its most vibrant. These seasons also provide the best light for photography and comfortable temperatures for hiking.

Exploring the Levada do Moinho offers an enriching experience that combines physical activity with cultural exploration. It’s an ideal adventure for those looking to delve deeper into Madeira’s natural beauty and historical past, away from more crowded destinations.

Levada do Moinho begin
Levada do Moinho 4

Trail Characteristics

  • Difficulty: This trail is considered moderate, making it accessible to hikers with basic to moderate hiking experience. The path includes some narrow sections and can be slippery, especially in wet conditions.
  • Distance and Duration: The Levada do Moinho offers a varied experience in terms of length, depending on the chosen starting and ending points. A typical hike can last between 2 to 4 hours, covering a distance that allows hikers to fully immerse themselves in the natural and serene environment.
  • Start and End Points: The trail can be accessed from several points, with one popular route beginning in the area of Porto Moniz and concluding in the village of Ribeira da Janela. This offers a comprehensive experience of the levada’s diverse landscapes.

What to See and Do

  • Flora and Fauna: The levada is surrounded by rich vegetation, including Madeira’s famous laurel forests (Laurisilva), which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Birdwatchers may also spot a variety of bird species that inhabit these forests.
  • Water Features: Along the trail, hikers are treated to the soothing sounds of water flowing through the levada. Small waterfalls and streams are common sights, adding to the trail’s charm.
  • Historical Mills: Although most mills are no longer in operation, hikers may encounter ruins and remnants that hint at the trail’s past importance. These historical markers add a layer of intrigue to the hike.

Preparation Tips

  • Appropriate Gear: Wear sturdy hiking shoes and comfortable clothing. A hat and sunscreen are advisable, as well as a waterproof jacket, depending on the season.
  • Safety: Stay on the marked path, especially near narrow sections or steep drops. The levada paths can be narrow, and caution is advised.
  • Supplies: Bring sufficient water and snacks for the hike. There are no facilities along the route, so hikers should come prepared.

4.2 / 5. Vote count: 21

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Spread the love

Related posts

Leave a Comment