Day Trips Flora & Fauna Great Walks

Exploring the Barrocal via Fonte Benémola Trail

Whilst going through the hundreds of photographs I have taken whilst out here in the Algarve I spotted a few photos from a wonderful ‘half’ walk we did in February 2014.  I thought you might like to see them!

Original bridge further up the path

At the start of the trail with Fica Bem in the distance

The Fonte Benémola trail is a 4km circular walk, which starts on the dirt track to Fica Bem, a small hamlet near Querença, north of Loulé. The path is mostly dirt track through woodland, farmland and orchards beside or with views of the Riberia da Fonte Benémola.

On our visit in February 2014 we walked 4km but it wasn’t circular as the small footbridge near the picnic area was out of action – hence my description at the start of a wonderful ‘half’ walk!

Only the bridge posts in situ, we think the walkway was removed temporarily because of the rains
Only the bridge posts in situ, we think the walkway was removed temporarily because of the rains

DSCN3986In the summer months you wouldn’t need to use the bridge as there is a small ford close by, but unfortunately for us in February 2014 we couldn’t do this either.  It had been very wet in the weeks preceding our visit, and as you can see from these photographs the water was fast and furious.

Despite only being able to do one side of the Riberia da Fonte Benémola we thoroughly enjoyed the walk because of the bird life, the fauna and flora.  The trees varied from managed Cork Oaks, Orange trees and Almond Blossom, to white willows and white poplars

DSCN3999There were DSCN3998succulents growing between rocks, and these little yellow birds everywhere. At the time we identified them as Siskins, but now a year later I am wondering if they are not in fact Serins.

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It’s the stripes on the upperparts that have me pondering, but whether it’s a Siskin or Serin this little chap was having a wonderful time!

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When we went we took the N396 to Querença from Loulé before turning left towards Pombal. Shortly after leaving Pombal you will see signs for Fonte Benémola, follow these!  DSCN4015On the right hand side before crossing the bridge over the Riberia da Fonte Benémola you will spot the trail car park, you can park here or if full try the car park at the other end of the dirt track in Fica Bem itself.  A description of the trail, including map, can be found in the Turismo de Portugal – guide to walking trails in the Algarve.  Available in most tourism centres or online here. This walk starts on page 76, with the map on page 79.

DSCN4013It is worth noting this is one of the more popular walks in the area for tourists probably because of its brevity (possible to do it in 90minutes), its accessibility (it’s flat) and the picnic area.  If you find there are too many people on the trail there is a longer quieter circular walk which continues past the springs up through the hills, rather than returning on the other side of the river.  This walk is definitely for the more adventurous, and you will need appropriate footwear and water.  We’ve yet to do in its totality but have done it in part as we couldn’t resist continuing up the hill.  Details on this walk can be found in the car parks, and there are small signs (coloured dots) to follow.

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