3.7 mi. Difficult 109m Fonte Ferrea
Fonte Férrea walk is a relatively short (3.7 mile) circular GPS walk in the Serra do Caldeirão near São Brás de Alportel. In spite of the short distance, this walk is a tough one. The track is sometimes hard to find and climbs are steep; descends even more so. This track is for the experienced walker!
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Fonte Ferrea walk can be started in different locations and we chose the Avalanche Café in the valley. The first thing we noted, getting ready for the walk, were two Nuthatches, singing loudly and chasing each other through the blossoming Eucalyptus trees. That reminded us sadly that we forgot to bring binoculars. This route can only be found with GSP. It is not an official track of the São Brás municipality and the tracks are sometimes hard to find.
Climbing and scrambling
The route is characterised by tracks that are hard to find in the overgrowth and several steep that require a lot from climbing skills. Some slopes we had to descend backwards, like toddlers. Walking sticks are certainly no luxury here. From the valley the summit of the hike is a 120 meter climb. Next to a electricity pylon, a track that is hardly visible throws itself down off the hill like a dry river.The total increase is about 220 meters and the descend is no less than that. Fonte Ferrea is not a walk for inexperienced hikers and you need dry conditions.
Fonte Férrea walk has a vegetation that mainly consists of Pine trees and Eucalyptus. Woodpeckers apparently feel at home here, because we hear them hammer away on the tree trunks around us. The Iberian Green Woodpecker, as well as the Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, are very active. This area is also well known for its bird life. Birds of Prey feel at home here. We were able to spot a Hawk Eagle (Bonelli’s eagle) circling high above our heads on the thermals.
A little over halfway this route, in Alportel you find a café for a refreshment and at the end a great lunch is served at the Avalanche café.