The North Coast Equestrian Trail

This equestrian trail with an approximate extension of 14 km, between the Vinha fort in the village of Areosa and the beaches of Afife, travels along the edge of the northern coastline of the Viana do Castelo region and crosses the farming lowlands providing spectacular views of the Santa Luzia mount and the Atlantic Ocean.

The coast by definition is a space of interface and interchange, in other words, a place of transition. Along this complex and dynamic border, the diversity of the geomorphological, biological, historic-archeological, cultural and landscape heritage will certainly spark your curiosity.

There are three local natural monuments of the Geopark of Viana do Castelo found along this trail or located in the surrounding areas which provide us with a glimpse into the geological and environmental history of the Viana do Castelo coast. The Pedras Ruivas, Canto Marinho and Alcantilado de Montedor (Montedor cliff) geosites will allow us to unravel the regional and global processes which influenced the formation and evolution of this section of the coastline.

This is a coastline that is distinct due to a coastal landscape that alternates between sandy and rocky beaches and rocky shores, along with the diversity in coastal and estuary environments, all of which translates into extremely diversified eco-systems. In addition to the different habitats associated to the transition zone between sea and land, there are many waterways that appear along the route, each with their own inherent ecological features. These include the streams of Pêgo and Afife. The halophilic-psammophile vegetation found along the dune systems that can be admired along most of the trail have adapted to the different dune areas.

The Montedor granite rock cliffs located in the village of Carreço shelter an important habitat type, now a protected area under the Natura 2000 network. The area is unique due to the species which have adapted to the harsh conditions. They may be found along the cracks formed on the coastal granite cliffs and include the endemic Armeria genus and a variety of shrubs that grow on the ridges exposed to sea winds. An impressive coastal blanket of heather and gorse stretches from the base of the Montedor cliff to the sea.

This coastal strip of farming land that is part of the Veigas de Areosa, Carreço and Afife also provide a safe haven for animals to feed and breed, thus fostering biodiversity. It is quite common to see grey heron, buteos, peregrine falcons as well as small mammals.

The presence of mankind on the north coast of Viana do Castelo dates back to pre-history. This has been proven by historical archaeological vestiges. This extensive timeline extends from the Neolithic to Modern history, including the Iron Age and the Romanization period. Evidence of human occupation on the coastal zone include tumuli and rock art engraved on numerous granite outcrops. The coastline along Carreço deserves special attention due to the Laje da Chuva in Fornelos beach, the spirals and the Pedra do Sol (sun rock), diverse castro settlements (hillforts), various excavated objects in the nearby slopes or coastal areas such as the roman and pre-roman salt pans, as well as the military defence constructions built during the late sixteen-hundreds, strategically positioned along the coast. These are the Forte de Paçô, the Vinha fortalice and the Santiago da Barra fort. 

Finally, we have the Areosa and Carreço windmills, the latter totally restored, as well as the camboas (type of fishgarth) found on various beaches, which demonstrate the close connection that the agro-maritime communities had with their surrounding environment, the natural resources of the coast.

Useful Documents

Descarregue aqui o Percurso Equestre Litoral Norte.

28-09-2018 kmz 8 KB Download