PR 9 Caldeirão Verde Footpath
Finish: Caldeirão Verde
Distance: 6,5 km
This trail begins at the Queimadas Forestry Park and winds along the walkway of the levada of Caldeirão Verde at 990 m elevation, in the municipality of Santana.
The levada of Caldeirão Verde is an impressive work of art built in the 18th century that begins in the main stream bed of the Caldeirão Verde brook. Passing through steep cliffs and mountains, it carries the water that runs off the highest mountains of Madeira, to be used to irrigate the farm lands of the parish of Faial.
This levada is used for agricultural purposes, but it is also an important means of reaching the interior of the deep valley of the São Jorge brook on foot, offering the traveler a vertiginous and spectacular view of the mountainous terrain of the interior of the island and the opportunity to walk through tunnels carved by hand out of the rock.
At the Queimadas Forestry Park there is a shelter (Casa de Abrigo das Queimadas), which retains the original features of the typical houses of Santana, including a marvelous thatched roof.
Worthy of mention are the excellent specimens of elegant Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) with their dense reddish foliage, Canary Island junipers (Juniperus cedrus), Madeira laurel (Ocotea foetens), Pau branco or southern olive (Picconia excelsa), hundred-year-old broom heath (Erica scoparia) as well as some specimens of lily-of-the-valley tree (Clethra arborea), and Madeira blueberry (Vaccinium padifolium), which can be seen along the trail.
Species of indigenous avifauna that can be seen include the chaffinch (Frigila coelebs), the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis), the Madeira long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz trocaz), grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea schmitzi), and the buzzard (Buteo buteo harteti).
Close to the Queimadas Park one can see off to the side a small settlement called Achada do Marques, a site that has been designated as Protected landscape, noted for its traditional farm terraces and old stone cow huts.
After you pass through the 4 tunnels on the route, Caldeirão Verde appears on the left of the levada and one has only to climb a few metres along the stream bed to reach it.
The Caldeirão Verde lake is formed by water that falls from the bed of the Caldeirão Verde stream bed from a height of approximately 100m.
Indulge yourself and revel in the surrounding scenery and catch your breath for the return trip.