This trail showcases the small village of Mealha, inserted in the countryside of the Serra do Caldeirão and the archaeological site of Anta da Masmorra.
Walking through the mountain village, you’ll come across several examples of traditional architecture: houses made of schist or finished with whitewashed mortar, threshing floors and communal ovens. Near the foot of the pillory and the washhouses, a copse of holm oaks flanked by dry stone wall follows you towards the Ribeirinha. Here you will find the traditional palheiros (haysheds), circular schist buildings with roofs of rye and rush, where food was stored for animals. These are an ancestral typology of construction, popular in the hinterlands of the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo.
Along the Ribeirinha you will find a path that follows the watercourse and crosses through the village’s vegetable gardens. Along with the verdant vegetation of the wetlands, there are forests of cork oak and Mediterranean scrubland where kermes oak, mastic trees, myrtle, wrinkle-leaved rockrose and purple phlomis grow. On the slopes, dry stone walls bound fields and orchards, mainly olive groves. There are very interesting birds in these environments, some of which may be observed, with a bit of patience.
Leaving behind the beds of oleander and reeds of the Ribeirinha, which you will have cross very carefully on the stepping stones in the riverbed, climb to the hill of the Masmorra, by paths flanked by plantations of stone pine, holm oak, and aromatic woods.
Next to the ruins of windmills, the view stretches over the surrounding mountainous territory, including the nearby hills of Martim Longo and Ameixial, or the distant ones, including the lands of Beja.
The necropolis of Anta da Masmorra is located between beds of cistus, in an elevated position on the hill. This funerary monument, from the end of the Neolithic period, consists of a circular chamber formed by nine pillars and a well-defined corridor, of which three preserved pillars still stand.
Climbing down the hill through pine forests and Mediterranean scrubland, you will once again cross the clear waters of the Ribeirinha and the well-kept vegetable gardens in its wetlands, along towards Mealha.
Type: walking and cycling
Circular trail: yes
Distance: 5,8 km
Average duration: 2h
Cumulative elevation gain: 230 metres D+
Type of path: dirt paths and asphalt roads
Start of the trail: 37º 21' 48.06'' N 7º 52' 18.40'' W