AH Marialva – AH Trancoso
Great Bicycle Route
Places of passage: Rabaçal, Esporões, Moreira de Rei, Castaíde.
Marialva is the northernmost village of the GR22 - Great Route of the Historical Villages of Portugal, and the route now heads south, descending to the devesa of this Historical Village, where it leaves the previous leg. Continuing on a dirt road, it crosses the bridge of the Marialva stream and heads towards Rabaçal, now mostly towards west, up to Esporões. After crossing this village, it follows forest roads, which progressively become agricultural paths as it approaches Moreira de Rei and its curious granite formations. From there, and already together with the “Guardians of the Plateau” route, this leg continues south until Castaíde, where it finds the Azedo valley, which it then follows until it starts the final climb to the Historical Village of Trancoso.
Fauna and Flora
_MARIALVA_ Just outside Marialva we find an agricultural area with a high density of birds, among which stand out the cirl bunting, the spotless starling, and the Eurasian hoopoe, which, by staying here during winter, proves the Mediterranean character of this area. Closer to the river we can find examples of junipers, Montpellier maples, and turpentine trees, so characteristic of the Douro environments. On the slopes of the Côa, the landscape is characterized by being a valley nestled between granite cliffs. The river houses species such as the Iberian green frog, the marbled newt, the viperine water snake, and the common otter, but flying overhead we find the crag martin and the red-rumped swallow, while the common chiffchaffs sing amidst the broom. _TRANCOSO_ The plateaus near Trancoso are characterized by being surrounded by elevations, which are sometimes of rock formations, sometimes covered by pine forest, where we can find one of the most curious farm types of this region: the fields enclosed by tree hedges; in this case, essentially Pyrenean oak. The Muxagata valley is fully cultivated and flanked by alder trees, while from the pine and broom covered areas above come the sounds of carrion crows and European green woodpeckers. Along the paths and marshes emerge the living hedges made of common hawthorn or even flax-leaved daphne. By the stream, we can watch species such as the common linnet, the European goldfinch, the whinchat, the European turtle dove, and the common blackbird, among others. On the other hand, further up the valley, as we approach mountainous environments, we may find the common buzzard or the great grey shrike.