AH Trancoso – AH Linhares da Beira
Great Bicycle Route
Trancoso, Linhares da Beira
Places of passage: Miguel Choco, Venda do Cepo, Aldeia Nova, Muxagata, Vila Soeiro do Chão, Mesquitela, Carrapichana, Figueiró da Serra.
This leg leaves Trancoso from the south side, goes into a dirt road and descends towards Miguel Choco. From there, and passing soon afterwards through Venda do Cepo, it catches the beginning of the Muxagata stream. It goes down the initially narrow valley of the stream and follows this water line through Aldeia Nova, before reaching Muxagata. From this village it goes south, following the stream of the same name to its mouth, on the Mondego river. In this river it is necessary to cross a dam (conditioned crossing in flood period, see alternative). Leaving the valley, it soon crosses the EN16 and reaches Vila Soeiro do Chão. Using mostly dirt roads, it passes through Mesquitela and Carrapichana. In the latter, it crosses the EN17 and continues south, gradually rising until reaching Figueiró da Serra, where it descends to the Linhares stream and converges with the PR4, going up the Roman stone road to the Historical Village of Linhares da Beira.
Fauna and Flora
_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. _MUXAGATA_ The Muxagata stream is perhaps the closest and most obvious natural element. Flowing into the Mondego river, about three kilometers further south, the power of its waters has been harnessed to feed water mills. The great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and the common kingfisher (Alcedo athis) feed in the waters of the stream. The riparian gallery of alder trees and willows houses the Cetti's warbler (Cettia cetti) and the Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki). The zitting cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) repeatedly flows over the meadows, emitting its characteristic calls. Near the boundaries of the houses the traditional olive groves predominate and, above, are remnants of pine forests. Grazing and forest fires have transformed these slopes and ridges into a rocky environment dominated by large granite outcrops, some forming small cliffs. _LINHARES DA BEIRA_ On the mountain plateau overlooking this Historical Village, we find some of Serra da Estrela's oldest agricultural fields. Here, already seeing the Mondeguinho, we find some high woods of deciduous species that accompany us throughout the slope of Linhares. From the height of 1300m - and already without any tree species - the vegetation cover is dominated by the heather and the juniper we find on the way to Malhão and Santinha. Near the Rossim valley, it is possible to see the rare black stork. On the north side of the mountain, the Mondego river shows a dense riverside gallery where the alder tree predominates, with the presence of willows and narrow-leaved ashes. In this place where we cross the river, we can see species such as: the wren, the European robin, the Eurasian blue tit, the white wagtail, and the Cetti's warbler, among others.