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A Little Good News – Free Digital Maps For Everyone

We may not be able to go adventuring for a while yet. However, we can plan ahead for when we can travel again. Have a look at our digital maps, clear and fully detailed for adventure planning of all kinds, including walking, climbing, biking or maybe daydreaming about your next big trip.

Mirador Del Time, La Palma, Canary Islands
Here’s the map section of the area shown in the photo (above).

There’s a whole hatful of exciting free maps to be had. Take a look at this list of adventure destinations.

Balearic Islands

Mallorca

Menorca

Ibiza

Formentera

Menorca’s rugged north-east coast

Madeira

Madeira – approaching Ribeira Funda

Azores

Greek Islands

Corfu

Zante (aka Zakynthos)

Malta, Gozo & Comino

Spanish Mainland

Axarquia / Costa del Sol

Costa Blanca

Alpujarras

Sierra de Aracena

Axarquia

Canary Islands

Gran Canaria

La Palma

Tenerife

La Gomera & El Hierro

Lanzarote

Fuerteventura

La Gomera, Canary Islands

We hope that we’ve inspired you to think about your next big adventure. To get your free digital maps, please look here https://www.dwgwalking.co.uk

MADEIRA WALKS, UPDATES

MADEIRA WALKS VOLUME ONE AND VOLUME TWO

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO WALKING ROUTES

20th FEBRUARY 2020

Volume One – Walk 10 – Levada dos Tornos – Monte – Curral Romeiros – Circular
Whilst this route remains open, is it should be noted that the forest section between Wp.3 and Wp.4 is currently in a poor condition. Therefore it is recommended that anyone finding difficulty ascending this path should turn back immediately and follow the lower route via the João Gomez valley. Once in Romeiros there is an option to walk out and back along Levada dos Tornos between Wp.7 and Wp.4 before returning again via the João Gomez valley. This is an extremely pretty section of levada and remains in good condition but does retain the grade 3 risk of vertigo due to a number of unprotected sections. There is also a very short section at Wp.4 where the channel shoulder has suffered some erosion, but this can be totally avoided by walking on the opposite banking crossing and re-crossing the two concrete slabs over the channel.

Volume Two – Walk 55 – Levada do Caldeirão Verde
This route is shown as ‘Conditioned’ on the official Tourism website due to a substantial rock fall around the green pool. Therefore at the present time walkers can either continue along the suggested extension to reach Caldeirão do Inferno or turn around after Wp.9 and return to the starting point where a new café facility has recently been opened in the Parque das Queimadas

Volume Two – Walk 58 – Camacha to Monte
After reaching the Choupana Hills Resort (this hotel was closed in 2016 following the fires in that area), we follow the path through the gardens, which remain open and continue along the levada to Romeiros, where you leave the channel descending steps at (Wp.13). Here follow the road right for a short distance to reach more steps ascending back to the levada. At this point we recommend that you consider the options for continuing on to Monte, either via the levada or by following the trail into the João Gomez valley. Both these options are described clearly in Madeira Walks Volume Two. However, you should note that due to some problems on the descent after leaving the levada (Wp.4) until reaching the point where both options rejoin at (Wp.3) it may be preferable, and much safer for some people, to take the lower route back to Monte. (Refer to the update above for Walk 10)

Portela to Porto Cruz (Walk 58).

Volume Two – Walk 65 – Rabaçal Lagoa do Vento
This trail has recently been refurbished providing stepped ascents and descents along its whole length making for a much easier terrain. The upgrade also includes new signage and diverts the path away from the previous wet and slippery sections referred to in the original text in Madeira Walks Volume Two.

Madeira Walks – important updates

Things change, of course and our walking guidebooks for the garden island of Madeira are no exception. From time to time, erosion or weather events mean that parts of a walking route need to be changed, or other safety issues prompt the authorities to make route changes. If you have either of our guidebooks ‘Madeira Walks’ volume one or two, please take a look at these notes sent to us by our resident author/researcher, Shirley Whitehead.

Volume One – Walk 35 – Levada das 25 Fontes – Via Calheta Tunnel (PR6)

Volume Two – Walk 68 – Rabaçal – Levada das 25 Fontes & Levada do Risco (PR 6.1)

The following update applies to both the above routes along the final section between the Ribeira Grande Bridge and the 25 Fontes.

“Around 400m beyond the Ribeira Grande Bridge, a stairway appears on our right; this is a new return route recently constructed to improve safety to walkers by reducing the volume of traffic along the narrowest part of the levada which is subject to serious erosion.

One of the 25 waterfalls

Walkers are therefore asked to respect this safer diversion on their return to Casa do Rabaçal. The new route starts around 120 metres from the 25 Fontes. The stairway is approximately 250m in length with an ascent and descent of 50m therefore reducing the original return journey by around one kilometre.”

Volume Two – Walk 76 – Loreto to Madalena do Mar

Due to a large landslide below the levada around Wp.8, the right hand pathway descending to Lombo da Achada is now closed. As an alternative route to connect with Wp.10 and enable continuation down to Madalena do Mar, we suggest the following:

Just beyond Wp.2, turn right following the cobbled lane as it descends through the woodland. Around 100 m ahead, swing right onto a tarred road. This is “Impasso de Cova da Arco” which winds down the hillside towards Arco da Calheta. Shortly after a right and left bend around 800m ahead, go left down “Caminho das Paredes” to rejoin with “Impasso de Cove da Arco”. Turning left here, follow the road for around 500 metres to reach a T-junction. The total descent to this point is around 263 m.  You are now on “Rua da Achada do Santa Antonio” and turning left the route ascends towards Santa Antonio. 700 m ahead take a left turn following “Caminho do Lombo” the lane bends left around100m ahead. Another 50m ahead, you will arrive at a well on your left.

Madalena do Mar

This is Wp.10 of the original route where you now drop down steps on the right of the road to continue on to Madalena do Mar. The variances in timings and distance between the original route and this detour are negligible. The increase in ascents and descents is around 25m.”

Madeira Walking – get the latest updates

­­­MADEIRA WALKS VOLUME ONE AND VOLUME TWO

 

Madeira Walks Vol2 Path to Encumeada Walk 61

High above the world on Madeira’s peaks

 

The good news is that there are dozens of excellent walks of all types on this beautiful island. As the summer heat abates and the August visitors leave, it’s an ideal time for a walking holiday. Our resident researcher/author on the island, Shirley Whitehead, has just sent in the following important updates affecting a few routes; some changes are temporary while Shirley suggests alternative detours for some of the walks.

 Volume One – Walk 9 – Monte – Bom Sucesso – Funchal

This trail is temporarily closed due to erosion of the pathways and levada following severe fire damage in 2016.  Unlike most other water channels, this levada is privately owned and therefore repair work is not at the discretion of the authorities.

Volume Two – Walk 6l – Pico do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo (PR1 Vereda do Areeiro)

This route is shown as ‘Conditioned’ on the official Tourism website describing the trail as accessible along the whole length of the western footpath which passes through tunnels to arrive at Pico Ruivo. However, the route along the eastern part of the trail via Pico das Torres is temporarily closed. This situation has been apparent for some considerable time but our notes will be updated as and when the alternative route reopens.

Volume One and Volume Two – Walks 27 – 64  – 66

Due to the construction of a large reservoir on the Paúl da Serra plateau, scheduled for completion in 2020, the following walking routes are shown as amended or closed. Those affected are as follows:

Walk 27 – Levada do Paúl – Cristo Rei – Fatima Chapel, Rabaçal

 This route is closed from Wp.7 where the channel crosses the regional road until it reaches the chapel of Nossa Senhora de Fátima and the Rabaçal car park on the ER105 at Wp.8.

As an alternative route, follow the notes until reaching the regional road at Wp.7 turning right for 300 metres to the junction with the ER105. Turning left from here, it’s around 1 kilometre to Wp.8 at the Rabaçal car park.

Note: the changes to the timings and distance from the original notes are negligible.

Walk 64 – Calheta Slopes – Levada da Rocha Vermelha – Levada Nova – Estrela da Calheta

This route is temporarily closed due to extensive construction work around Wp.3 where the trail becomes impassable in the area of the riverbed and Levada da Rocha Vermelha.

Walk 66 – Rabaçal: Ribeira Grande  -Lajeado – Paúl da Serra

This walking trail is impassable beyond Wp. 10. As an alternative we suggest two options: (1) to follow the trail to Pico Rabaçal as a (linear out and back) or, (2) to head in an easterly direction from Wp.9 following the broad moorland path until it reaches the ER209. Turning right here, it is around 800 metres to the cross roads with the ER105 and turning right, passing the Jungle Rain Restaurant, the original trail can be picked up again from Wp.17 to return to the starting point. This alternative section is around 4.8 kms in total making the timings and distances with the original notes negligible.

For further information of closures and conditioned sections of the Officially Recommended Walking Routes go to www.visitmadeira.pt “Notice to Walkers”

For walking map and guidebook information, look here.

Madeira SWMW Walk 33 Levada da Ribeira da Janela to Lamaceiros

A spectacular waterfall on the Levada da Ribeira da Janela

Tour and Trail Maps Go To Sea

We know that most people use our Tour & Trail maps for hiking and biking, for driving and occasionally while horse riding. Their strength, toughness, foldability and waterproof qualities make our maps ideal for all these pursuits.

Look at those magical blues! Paddle Boarding off Northern Menorca

But here’s a first! We received an interesting email from Oliver, a kayak, open canoe and paddle board guide. He uses our maps to navigate around coastlines and sent us a couple of photos showing how he does it.

Paddle Boarding off Menorca’s North Coast

“Just wanted to say how impressed I am with the quality of your maps, I use them to navigate our way around coastlines, most recently around some of the awesome north coast of Menorca on Stand Up Paddle Boards, (I guide in both sea kayak and Open canoe too).

Your maps definitely make life easy while afloat …

Oliver”

(Received 24 August 2018)

And here’s how to use your Tour & Trail map while paddle boarding.

Thanks Oliver!

You can see that map and many others from Discovery Walking Guides here.

Any more unusual uses for our maps out there? Let us know.

Madeira – Garden Isle

Taken by author/researcher Shirley Whitehead – stunning views from Encumeada.

Ah, Madeira! It’s an island that draws visitors back again and again, with its unique plant life, a wide range of wonderful walking from strolls to challenging mountain routes, and a benign climate, making it a year-round destination.

One of the best things about walking here is the sheer variety of routes. If you want gentle, level paths, there are many levada-side routes taking you through lush, natural green scenery. Mountain-lovers have a wealth of inspiring options to choose from. You want views? Wild flowers? Unspoilt villages? Short strolls? Challenging all-day routes? They’re all here.

Madeiran island authorities are well aware of the importance of walking to many of their visitors and do a great job of maintaining routes, keeping them open and safe.

 

 

If you’re thinking of a visit to the island, you’ll get much more value from your visit with a good guide book and map in your pocket. Have a look HERE for recommendations.

Beautiful Madeira – Walking Route Updates (Oh, and Porto Santo)

Madeira – a firm favourite

Stunning views to Encumeada, Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead)

 

Madeira is beautifully green and floriferous but sometimes the necessary abundant rainfall (or in high summer, forest fires) lead to temporary walking route closures. Thankfully, the island authorities are quick to pinpoint problem sections and repair them. In any case, there are so many great walks that you’ll always find plenty to choose from anytime that you visit.

Have a look HERE for walking information and suggested walking guidebooks and detailed walking maps.

Approaching Ribeira Fundo, Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead)

At the time of writing, the official PR walking routes currently affected by temporary closures are:

 

PR12 – Caminho Real da Encumeada

PR14 – Levada dos Cedros

PR16 – Levada Fajã do Rodrigues

PR17 – Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal

PR19 – Caminho Real do Paul do Mar

Go to the official pages for up-to-date information regarding route closures.

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Descent to the land Bridge, São Lourenço Madeira (copyright author/researcher Shirley Whitehead).

Going to Madeira? Hop to Porto Santo

 

If you’re going to Madeira, why not take a day or two take a look at little sister island Porto Santo?

Walkers can try the two official PR walking routes, PS PR1 – Vereda do Pico Branco e Terra Chã and the PS PR2 – Vereda do Pico Castelo

For  the official Porto Santo tourist information including walking look HERE.

 

The ferry from Funchal, Madeira to Porto Santo takes about 2 hours 15 minutes. Please check the freey information website for departure times and note that in early January each year ferries are often out of service for regular maintenance. Ferry information HERE.

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Porto Santo Nature Trail Event 03/04 March 2018

This event is the 5th stage of the “Circuit Trail Madeira 2017/2018”. As you can see, the adult routes look pretty challenging – though you do have until March 2018 to get into shape!

  • Porto Santo Nature Trail (PSNT) – 42.3 km and 1926m climb (circular format);
  • Trail do Porto Santo (TPS) – 21.9 km and 107m climb (linear format);
  • Mini Trail do Porto Santo (MTPS) – 8.9 km and 395m climb (linear format);

There’s also a children’s event:

Kids Trail do Porto Santo (KTPS) between 1 km and 3 km (linear format).

For all the information, look HERE.

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You might also find this post useful for getting out and about on Madeira.

 

 

 

 

 

Who got a Garmin for Christmas?

If you are one of the many who found a Garmin GPS in their Christmas stocking, this post is for you.

Get your hands on a free sample ‘real-time’ map and see your Garmin come to life. You can choose a sample map of Graciosa ( off Lanzarote, Canary Islands) or Sierra de Aracena (Andalucia, Spain).

What you’ll get is a highly detailed real-time Tour & Trail digital download map, which you can save on your hard drive, transfer to your Garmin GPS CustomMap memory or onto a micro-SD card; you can also use the maps in Garmin Basecamp and Google Earth.

If you like what you’re seeing then you can purchase more mapping to download, for a whole host of destinations including:-

CANARY ISLANDS

Sample segment, Gran Canaria.

Sample segment, Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria
Tenerife
La Palma
La Gomera
Lanzarote
Fuerteventura

MAINLAND SPAIN
Alpujarras (Sierra Nevada, Andalucia, southern Spain)
Costa Blanca Mountains (Alicante, southern Spain)
Axarquia (Andalucia, southern Spain)
Sierra de Aracena (Helva province, southern Spain)

BALEARIC ISLANDS
Mallorca
Menorca
Formentera
Ibiza

PORTUGUESE ISLANDS
Madeira

For more information about Tour & Trail Maps take a look HERE.

Madeira – news just in – Levada Nova

Thanks to Peter and Ginny, just back from a walking holiday on the isle of Madeira, we are passing on their update:

“Levada Nova has had rock falls along an extensive section near the start so that virtually all the safety barriers have disappeared. This makes the walk dangerous! We tried to carefully continue thinking the damage would be limited to a short section but it seemed to go on for a long distance so we turned back.”

Levada Nova, Madeira (Walk 73)

Levada Nova, Madeira (Walk 73)

Levada Nova is a popular walking route; if you are using Madeira Walks Volume Two, it is Walk 73.

Do check before setting out, either by asking at Tourist Offices or by looking on the island’s official website walking pages.

 

 

Are You Off To Walk Madeira? Check Before You Walk.

Aloe aborescens clinging to Madeiran cliffs

Aloe aborescens clinging to Madeiran cliffs

Madeira! What a great desination, especially at this time of year.

 

Swapping the dark and cold of Northern Europe for Madeira’s green and spring-like mountains is a popular choice at this time of year.

 

If you are planning to walk there, it’s worth checking that the paths you’re planning on following are open. The best place to look for information is on the official ‘Visit Madeira’ tourism website. To see which routes are open or temporarily closed, LOOK HERE.

If you are already on the island, you can also ask in Tourist Offices who usually have up to date information on walks that are open/closed.

A spectaculat waterfall on the Levada da Ribeira da Janela

A spectaculat waterfall on the Levada da Ribeira da Janela

At the moment only three of the official routes are temporarily closed. The authorities are vigilant and usually restore routes quickly; often, the problem is a landslip after heavy rain.

The three routes to avoid at the time of writing this are:

PR1 – Vereda do Areeiro
Temporarily closed

PR12 – Caminho Real da Encumeada
Temporarily closed

PR19 – Caminho Real do Paul do Mar

Temporarily closed

Levada Nova, Madeira

Levada Nova, Madeira

There’s so much great walking on Madeira that you’ll find plenty to tempt you, from strolls to all-day high altitude challenges. Even if you aren’t keen to do much walking, it’s a great idea to use the local buses which give you brilliant (sometimes a bit hairy!) adventures around the island for pocket-money prices.

 

There’s a great bus map available, also really useful as a driving map; LOOK HERE for details of the Madeira Bus & Touring Map.

 

For more information including details our two Madeira Walks guidebooks Madeira Tour & Trail Map and digital mapping for Madeira, take a look at Discovery Walking Guides; Madeira pages.

 

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