Walking in Madeira: Levada do Moinho

On our third morning we left Porto Moniz, stopping at a view point to look over the town from above. There was a shrine at the view point.

Our walk began at Ribiera da Cruz with a steep trek up to the waterfall Madre dos Levadas.

Our guide does some geocache hunting and found one near the foot of the fall. We passed through woods with bracken and gorse which made us feel we were in the UK. However, there were also many eucalyptus trees introduced from Australia. The Levada do Moinho was built to serve several water mills which are now ruined. After a traverse and descent alongside it, we arrived at Santo do Porto. Lunch was at picnic tables next to the cattle market. There was a tree which had grown around a still functioning water tap.

We then continued descending for another 45 minutes in farmland, passing a cow resting in the sun.

A diversion was necessary to avoid the part of the path which had now become a river due to the recent rains but we were almost back in the edge of Porto Moniz.

There are many empty and derelict homes, depopulation and an ageing propulation being a problem for parts of Madeira whose total population is only 250,000. There were many imported plants such as Strelitzia from South Africa and the Ginger Lily (Hedychium gardenerianum) which hails from the Western Himalaya and has become something of a pest.

We sampled the local Poncha in a bar. It is made from aguardente de cana (sugarcane alcohol), sugar honey and lemon. Here it is, being prepared prepared for us and the final product.

Needless to say, there was no more walking after that we were driven to our hotel on the southwest coast in Paul do Mar.