Monyash Walk – Along The Limestone Way & Lathkill Dale
This Monyash walk was one I had never done before. Many years ago I completed the 10 mile circuit from Monyash to the River Bradford and the River Lathkill and back to Monyash through Lathkill Dale.
The occasion was a double celebration of the birthdays of my son and daughter, both born in March, to reach 45 and 41. Accompanying us were their respective partners and my four grandchildren. The day was cloudy but fortunately dry, although the paths were extremely muddy. Some decent photographs are published here.We started the Monyash walk from the Bulls Head pub and walked on the path from the church, along the lane to reach The Limestone Way. The path reached Fern Dale and in a short distance we crossed the dry stone wall and headed for One Ash Grange Farm.
A very steep downhill section into Cales Dale followed, which was very slippy due to the damp conditions. A footbridge over the River Lathkill was crossed, then we turned North West in Lathkill Dale. A few cows were on the path, happily munching the grass. With two young children in the party we gave them a wide berth. Eventually the river ran dry and we had to transverse a rocky section near the disused Ricklow Quarry.
The final section of the Monyash walk was on grassland and after navigating the rocky section, this was very welcome. Eventually the B5055 road was reached and a final half mile walk along the grass verges brought us back to the Bulls Head pub.
My two youngest grandchildren, aged 4 and 5, never complained about the four mile walk and took it in their stride. An excellent meal and a couple of drinks followed in the Bulls Head and all too soon we had to say our good byes as we ventured home in opposite directions.
Madeiran Walks – Two Great Scenic Levada Walks
Maderian Walks are always great occasions on this Atlantic island, with stunning scenery and some of the best flora found anywhere in the world.
Two of the prettiest Madeiran Walks are found in the Eastern side of this lush island. Levada do Canical is in the South East and Levada do Castelejo is in the North East.
Levada do Canical
This walk starts high up at the village of Marocos and slowly winds it’s way over 7 miles through the many Ribeira’s (river valleys). The first is Ribeira das Cales, then 45 minutes later comes Ribeira Grande with it’s delightful landscape.
At around 1 hour a bar can be sighted across the valley and although seeming in touching distance there is a sting in the tail. Many twists and turns into shorter valleys and 20 minutes later you arrive at Bar Jacare where a welcome cooling drink awaits you.
Next up is Ribeira da Noia, a peaceful place where the Mimosa trees are plentiful and colour is everywhere. Finally Ribeira Seca is reached from where the resort of Machico can be seen below and the Desertas Islands glimmer in the distance.
All too soon after around 2 hours 45 minutes the walk finishes at the Canical tunnel. Crossing the road and heading uphill Pico do Facho can be reached where fantastic views of the South East of the island are to be found.
Levada do Castelejo
Although this walk can be extended to reach the source of the levada at Ribeira Frio, on this occasion we take the shorter walk from Referta to the village of Cruz. This number 2 of the Madeiran Walks is a short one, only 3 miles but the valley is lush and peaceful.
The walk starts down the road from the village of Referta at the Cruz da Guarda turn off. The lavada is picked up at the bend and soon a small tunnel is reached (no torch required). Soon the valley with the strange name of Temte Nao Caias (hold on watch you don’t fall) opens out to give some glorious scenery.
The amount of physical hard work it must have taken the locals to form these cultivated terraces can only be imagined as some of the terrain is 45 degrees or less.
Crops grow abundantly in this valley and with the flora it makes a delightful walk. There are some fantastic views of the coastal town of Porto da Cruz and the imposing height of Penha de Aguia 450 metres/1,475 ft in the distance.
The walk soon ends unfortunately and the tarmac road at Cruz is soon reached. From here it is a 10 minute walk downhill to the Cruz crossroads and my favourite bar on Madeira, the Adega de Cruz. Sitting in the sunshine gazing down at the bay at Porto da Cruz and the shining Atlantic finishes off one of the great Madeiran Walks.