Levadas & forest areas reopen

Natural spaces in big demand by locals

Levadas & forest areas reopen 1The Diario reports that yesterday, several public spaces in the forest area and in protected areas reopened, and some recreational activities are now allowed, namely mountain biking, canyoning, rappelling or hang gliding. But yesterday, there was a greater demand for Madeirans for natural spaces.

The list of permitted activities also includes walking, not only on recommended walking routes, but also in other places suitable for walking. Also open to the public were Quinta do Santo da Serra (photo), Jardim das Madalenas, Jardim do Amparo and Jardim de Santa Luzia. However, the support infrastructures for the different spaces are kept closed, as well as the leisure and barbecue areas located in the forest space.

This reopening, as the newspaper reported yesterday in its print edition, involves respecting some measures imposed within the scope of the COVID-19 contingency, namely the mandatory distance of 2 metres, the use of masks, and, in some cases, the reduction of capacity to 50%.

Car movement increases significantly

Although the official reopening of these spaces only took place today, yesterday there were already many Madeirans who enjoyed walks and other activities in a natural environment, thus anticipating an escape to nature that was long desired. At Paul da Serra, for example, several people, in small groups or individually, went for walks, cycled or simply tried to enjoy the sun that was felt throughout most of the day. Automobile movement increased significantly.

Levadas & forest areas reopen 3One of the most sought after areas was Rabaçal, in the municipality of Calheta. At the beginning of yesterday afternoon, more than a dozen vehicles were parked at the viewpoint next to the access road to the levadas of Risco, 25 Fontes, and Alecrim, whose routes were chosen for a short walk.

It should be noted that the 25 Fonte route remains restricted due to a small collapse that occurred in February and that destroyed part of the path that runs parallel to the levada – work to replace the trail is already underway. The intervention has been used to carry out other improvement works along the access to the lagoon (opposite), works that have taken advantage of the absence of walkers in recent weeks. But this scenario is likely to change from now on.

There is also a work in progress to improve another trail that already exists, but which did not integrate with the recommended routes. This is the Palha Carga footpath, which, with the completion of the works scheduled soon, will allow walkers to exit the 25 Fontes to the Fanal Road. Steps have been built, in stone or wood, along the entire route; in the narrowest areas, they thinned the rock or widened the trail on the ground. In addition to a viewpoint and rest area, balconies were also built in the most exposed areas.

Levadas & forest areas reopen 5In addition to Rabaçal, Ponta de São Lourenço was another route that registered some demand. With the reopening of these spaces, it is natural that the Madeirans, after a long period of confinement, choose to do more activities in the forest area, gardens or other infrastructures that were usually most sought after by tourists.

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