AH Idanha-a-Velha – AH Monsanto
Great Bicycle Route
Places of passage: Afonseanes
Heading east alongside the GR12-E7, which coincides for almost 2km with the route, this leg crosses the Ponsul river through the Roman bridge and follows this plain, following the course of the river until it crosses it a second time and turns north. Heading towards Monte-Ilha, it crosses the villages of Amial and Afonseanes, and then crosses interesting cork oak clusters. It begins the ascent of the slope, going west around Monte-Ilha, an imposing elevation that stands out in the flat landscape and where this Historical Village has been settled for centuries.
Fauna and Flora
_IDANHA-A-VELHA_ Around this Historical Village it is possible to find bushweeds ("Tamujo"), a plant species characteristic of Mediterranean watercourses, and also some Spanish sparrows, Eurasian magpies, Iberian magpies, great grey shrikes, corn buntings, and black-winged kites. From here the landscape alternates between schist and granite, enabling in this Alentejo-like environment the presence of cork oaks, evergreen oaks, and Pyrenean oaks. Near Proença-a-Velha, the red-rumped swallow can be seen even in mid-October. From there, we enter cork oak forests with clearings where there are almost no shrubby species and the avifauna shows species such as the black redstart, the meadow pipit, the Eurasian jay, the European bee-eater, etc. We are also presented with fields of Spanish wild marjoram, where the white wagtail and the Eurasian blackcap can be seen. _MONSANTO_ In the surroundings of this particular Monte-Ilha we find a flat area, with grazing fields of spontaneous grass, and also some clusters of cork oak and Pyrenean oak, where we can watch the Thekla's lark, the Eurasian jay, the spotless starling, the stonechat, or the rock sparrow. During winter, the black redstart and the crag martin stay close to the village. Near Senhora da Azenha, still in the granite area, the woodlark and the coal tit can be found. Further on, moving into schist land and as we approach the Ponsul river, we may be surprised by a little ringed plover. Ahead we enter a typical cork oak forest, where there is the black-winged kite, the European robin, and the starling, among others.