Telheiros do Barro
GPS route – Walking-in-Algarve – Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo
8.2 mi. Moderate 134m EN270 Sta. Catarina
Telheiros do Barro walk offers the walker an insight into the traditional industry around the village of Santa Catarine da Fonte do Bispo. In the blazing sun of the Algarvian summer, tough bare-chested men heat up the ovens in ramshackle buildings (Telheiros) where hand made floor and roof tiles are fired. The temperature in the ovens can rise to 1000º Celcius. Behind the oven buildings, the clay excavations show clearly that the raw materials are a local product. The end result is the world famous “Tijolo Burro” or Santa Catarina tile.
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The walk starts on the EN270 halfway between Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo and Fonte do Bispo and at first passes some remote houses in the hamlet of Corte Peso. Walk Telheiros do Barro then crosses the tarmac road towards Umbria and leads the hiker into the hills in the direction of Hortas. In the valley below the tiny village of Hortas, two tile “factories” pour their thick black smoke into the air. The process of tile making is very interesting to see and the men working at the Telheiro are proud of their work, very kind and usually willing to show you the ropes.
When the firing finishes, the air in the valley is thick with the smell of wild thyme and rosemary and of course the cistus rose is not lacking in this hot, dry but still green landscape. The official route of “Telheiros do Barro” then leads you alongside the busy EN270 road. This makes the walk a lot less interesting so we have decided to change it a little. You can either walk back through Hortas or, when the gate is open, through the orange grove just below the village and past the terrain of a local hotel, a nice place for a drink too!
Finally, you do arrive at the EN270 but you only have to follow it for 400 metres after which the path towards Boa Vista awaits. Enjoy the fabulous views here and after approximately seven and a half miles, the starting point is, once again, in sight.