PR2 – Cabreia and Braçal Mines Route (Sever do Vouga – Portugal)

On 20 August 2011, me, JB and some friends of us decided to try something different. Instead of getting lost in a city, we went to the middle of the nature.We followed a short pedestrian route in Sever do Vouga (Portugal). The PR2 – “Rota da Cabreia e Minas do Braçal” (Cabreia and Braçal Mines Route) was the route chosen. According to the information given, this is the longest route from Sever do Vouga and the one with more vegetation and, consequently, with more shadow.

This route has three options, the PR2.1 (3.500m), the PR2.2 (6.600m) and the PR2.3 (10.500m). We followed the last one.

Beginning point

Beginning point

We met in Aveiro at around 9:30 and we went by car to the village of Silva Escura. At around 11:00, we arrived at the beginning point of the pedestrian route, the Cabreia’s picnic park, after we had traveled along some winding roads.

We reached the point where the PR2.1 splits up from the PR2.3 shortly after we had started our walk, but we kept along the PR2.3. It took us around thirty minutes to arrive at the Mine ruins of Malhada, which are already filled with vegetation.

Bad River

Bad River

After crossing the mine, we found ourselves in a T-junction where we turned right. The PR2.2 continued to the left.
We wanted to “get lost” in the middle of nature and we really got lost. Not to far away from the mine ruins, we missed one of the signalling marks and, instead of turning left, we went straight on. The absence of signalling marks and, essentially, the fact that we were climbing a hill instead of going down towards the river, made us suspect that we were going on the wrong way. The solution was to turn back and find the right way, a narrow path signaled by a mark on a tree.

Waterfalls

Finally, we were following the course of the river. This is a very pleasant place, it’s very verdant and fresh.
Just a curiosity about the river. Because of the washing of ores, people called it Good or Bad River depending if they were talking about the river upstream or downstream the Mines, respectively.

We arrived at the ruins of the Mining Complex of Braçal at around 12h30. We have much more to see here than in the previous mines. The worker houses are open and the floor is covered with papers. There’s a wide variety of fruit trees and the paths are flanked by bushes. There’s some magical atmosphere there. I enjoyed very much this part of the route.

Former foundry

Former foundry

The Mining Complex of Malhada and Braçal was, until its closure in 1958, one of the most important mining complexes of Portugal. There are traces that the exploration of Galena in these mines was started by the Romans.

We found two beautiful waterfalls around the Mining Complex. As we were felling very hungry, we stopped for around 40 minutes to have lunch.

We recharged our batteries at the right time. Immediately after we had restarted our walk, we started climbing the mountain. We did a 200 meters detour to have a look at the former foundry, with its imposing chimney.

39_PR2_cabreia_minas_bracal

The way between the foundry and the Cabreia’s waterfall wasn’t so pleasant. In this area, the vegetation is dominated by eucalyptus. The walk was a bit tiring, beside the slope, the temperature was very high, we had to be drinking water all the time. Some of us even finished their stock of water.
We crossed a village named Fojo, where we found a fountain. We could refresh a little bit.


It felt so good when we reached the river again. The vegetation was dense again and it felt refreshing. The landscape was much more pleasant. We started to listen to the sound of water falling, which indicated we were not too far from the Cabreia’s waterfall. However,  this is also the most dangerous part of way, we need to walk carefully and pay attention to where we put out feet to avoid slipping and falling.

We finally reached the highlight point of this pedestrian route, the Cabreia’s waterfall. This one is much more splendid then there other two waterfalls we had seen. There was many people in the Picnic Park. Some were refreshing in the water, others were just relaxing around the waterfall.

We finished at 15:40. Which means we took around 4h 40m to complete this pedestrian route.

Cabreia’s waterfall

Cabreia’s waterfall

After our walk we were feeling very hungry. Correction, I was feeling very hungry. We looked for a free seat and a table and I could satisfy my hunger.

Then we had a nice time playing a game called “Uno”.

As it was getting late, we decided it was time to leave this pleasant place. On our way we bought some BBQ chicken, bread and chips and went to the house of one of our friends to have dinner and continue playing our game.

This was an incredible day and it may have been the hottest day of 2011, at midnight the temperature was higher than 30ºC.

Leaflets of PR2 Cabreia and Braçal Mines Route part 1 and part 2 (portuguese).

Note:
PR stands for “pequena rota”, which means short route.
GR stands for “grande rota”, which means long route.

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