PR 2_PS Pico Castelo Footpath
Finish: Canhão Belvedere
Time: 1h30m / 2h15m
Distance: 3.2 km / 4.6 km
This trail begins at Moledo, next to the Regional Highway and continues up the forestry road. With two alternate routes to follow, one being along the north side the other along the south side of Pico do Facho.
The latter has the distinction of being the longest footpath of Porto Santo Island. As we cross the central zone of the island at the base of Pico do Facho, we can see traces of old farmlands and evidence of the hard work of building the cut stone walls, and reflect upon the amazing effort made by man to reforest the island.
At the top of Pico Castelo, you will come upon a statue in honour of António Schiappa de Azevedo, the driving force behind the reforestation of Porto Santo.
This process of arborisation has helped control the effects of erosion that are evident on this island. Some exotic species were introduced, whose wild nature is more resistant to the adverse conditions, examples being the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), the Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and the Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa).
Indigenous species that can be found include the dragon tree (Dracaena draco), the olive tree (Olea sp), the holm oak (Quercus ilex ssp. rotundifolia), some fire trees (Myrica faya), broom heath (Erica scoparia) and pride of Madeira (Echium nervosum).
The walk affords magnificent views as well as the opportunity to come into contact with numerous interesting items & the opportunity to observe them such as, the fauna of the island, observing flocks of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), birds of prey such as the common buzzard (Buteo buteo buteo) and the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis), the colourful house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the impressive hoopoe (Upupa epops).
After the climb to the summit of Pico Castelo, you reach the end of the trail at the Canhão Belvedere. Wherefrom one has a view of the city of Vila Baleira and in the background one can almost see the entire length of the island. In the distance you can make out the Deserted Islands as well as Madeira.
The name Pico Castelo dates back to the 15th century and originates from the fort that was utilised as a place of refuge by the local inhabitants whenever they were under attack, whether by French pirates or Algerians. The fort’s central location taken together with the ease of defence of its people made it a true Castle.Moledo - Porto Santo