Return to Serenity [GRZ - MTB sector 7]
Aldeias do Xisto Verified partner Explorers Choice
Return to Serenity - Dornes > Vale Serrão Rest Area - GRZ: Stage 5Photo: Diogo Martins, Aldeias do Xisto
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Responsible Trails Criteria:
This route as the auditing in progress at this date.
Track typesShow elevation profile
Rest stopsCasa do Olival
Trízio River Beach
Fernandaires River Beach
Moinhos da Ribeira
Take the necessary precautions for high temperatures in summer and slippery terrain in the winter. The levels of difficulty and times given are only indicative. They were calculated on a physical effort basis and do not include stops. Make your estimate by analising the technical data of path to be taken.
SOS Emergency: 112
SOS Forest: 117
Tips and hints
The Bouçã dam is located in Graça Parish in Pedrógão Grande Municipality. It was built on the River Zêzere, near the small town of Bouçã, downstream from Cabril Dam and upstream from Castelo de Bode dam. The construction was completed in 1955. In times of flooding when the Cabril dam spillways open, the Bouçã dam has a feature that differentiates it from all other dams: the discharge water is carried over the wall, giving a cascade of water 63 metres high, creating a unique and indescribable scene. Although the dam is mainly used for producing electricity, the lagoon is now being sought out for a variety of sports and environmental activities, such as fishing, canoeing, hiking and mountain biking. On the more exposed slopes, the vegetation is marked by the presence of rock rose, broom and furze and gorse.
Geologically, the Figueiró dos Vinhos area consists of schist, greywacke and also some quartzites. However, iron and gold were also intensely mined on the Zêzere River for economic reasons, from at least the mid-17th century, especially in the area around the mouth of the Alge and in this area of Prudência, although there are traces of operations from Roman times in the conheiras (a place where rolled pebbles resulting from gold mining were piled up) found. One of the deposits that was mined to supply ore to the Foz de Alge factory was a Prudência Stream mine, located between Bairradas and Vale do Rio, with its history closely linked with the Foz de Alge Iron Foundry Factory, which at that time was one of the best in the country. From the Prudência Stream mines came iron to make cannons, naval artillery and military fortifications, nails for ships, rifle barrels, bayonets, rods, fasteners and sword blades, heating stoves (one of which is in the Convent of Mafra), agricultural tools.
The history of Foz de Alge is closely linked to the history of its forges, the river that gives it its name and the Zêzere River. On the banks of this small river, the Alge, you can find the most important evidence of the history of the industry in the country, the Foz de Alge Forges, which spanned three centuries of Portuguese history, operating from 1692 to 1834. Founded in 1692, the result of the industrial promotion policy of D. Pedro II, these forges used the latest technology in Europe, using the force of the Alge River as a driving force for the variety of equipment used. In 1761, the Marquis of Pombal ordered their closure, probably as a result of poor management and low yields. However, the 19th century brought new investment in iron manufacturing and, in 1802, orders were given to begin operation under the control of José Bonifácio de Andrade e Silva. In this phase, there was Germanic technical influence. They operated until 1834 when the losses incurred by the state, low production, and bad operation led to their closure once again. In this region, the eagle-owl and the alder are the prime examples of fauna and flora. Among the many activities that can be practised here, traditional fishing prominently stands out. The traditional boats of the Zêzere River still endure, the three-board boats, still used in fishing and transportation between the banks.
Dornes is one of the best-preserved and most characteristic villages on the banks of the Zêzere with a history dating back to Roman times. It is superbly framed by the landscape provided by the river and surrounding the mountains, with cobbled streets and medieval layout, finishing at the river and the Nossa Senhora do Pranto Shrine, which is an important place of pilgrimage (Círios). Also of note are the houses in traditional architecture, where evidence of the Order of Christ can be found, helping to tell the story of the unique Medieval Templar Pentagonal Tower, a defensive watchtower on the Zêzere, admirable for its splendid location and mysticism and a veritable landmark of the region. In the surrounding area, there are restaurants where you can savour freshwater fish, terraces with views of the river and Rural Tourism and Residential accommodation. There is also a boatyard where the Abrangel boat is built.
The route goes along the road that flanks The Zêzere River for about 1,400 metres, after which you join a forest path going down towards the river. Keeping close to the river for about 1,000 metres, you will once again move away and go up a small hill. Next, you will take the left path that leads up to the cliffs of Prudência and to the place where the waters of the river with the same name meet the Zêzere.
After crossing a small bridge over the stream, the route takes the left path and once again approaches the Zêzere, which it follows until Cova da Eira, where an Intermodal Station is located. Here, it turns towards the bridge, where it crosses the Ribeira de Alge, contemplating the old Foz de Alge ironworks. Next, it goes up the municipal road as far as Foz de Alge Village, where you will find the campsite.
After the campsite, the route heads towards Valbom Village along the municipal road which borders the Zêzere River, due to the lack of alternatives because of the rising of the waters in the Castelo de Bode lagoon, which changed the landscape in this region. A few hundred metres before arriving in Valbom, the route leaves the road and turns left, which will lead you very close to the water and a rest area.
After climbing up to Valbom, the route returns to the municipal road along the banks of the Zêzere, the Castelo de Bode Dam here. The GRZ follows the road to the left towards Casalinho de Santana and the Ribeira de Brás. At this site and entering the dirt road to the left, you will begin the ascent of Serra de São Paulo, a place of Moorish legends and some Visigoth graves. After the descent, the route goes back to the riverside road until you reach the town of Dornes.
From Dornes to the Vale Serrão Rest Area, Ferreira do Zêzere municipality, most of the route runs on a paved road and takes you through areas where Romans extracted gold from the waters of the river and erected the first buildings.
- 6 Waypoints
- 6 Waypoints
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