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”
Thanks go to David L, just back from walking (and golfing) on the Canary Island of La Gomera. He’s been there before and knows the walking pretty well, and has sent us a detailed review of some of the walks he did (self-adapted in part) using Walk! La Gomera guidebook and La Gomera Tour & Trail map along with digital mapping which he accessed on his smart phone.
Here’s part of David’s walking report:
On 18 December 2017 at 20:24 David L wrote:
“Where? La Gomera – Jardin Tecina Hotel
We did three – or perhaps more accurately, 2.5. We took golf clubs and tennis rackets, too – and my wife is not a bad walker, but not as keen as I am.
We were looking for walks with the least amount of travelling possible, avoiding those with vertigo warnings, and ideally, in the sun.
The walks we did were:
- Playa Santiago to Targa With Variation (Walk 10)
- Degollada de Peraza to San Sebastian (Walk 1)
- Playa Santiago – Baja de Guane – El Aguila – La Trinchera – Playa Santiago (Short Walk)
- Navigational Aids
All walks were undertaken with benefit of the digital version of the Tour & Trail Map on iphone via Memory Map, and hard copy print of the relevant area – one side with route marked – the other unmarked. Full hard copy Tour & Trail Map and Walk! La Gomera Book taken but not referred to en route.
Previous visits/walks have been in February and December. In comparison, the countryside was far more burnt up on this occasion, with virtually no greenery, and noticeably warmer than Christmas, but cooler than Feb. We have had NE Alisio weather patterns on previous visits, but, on this occasion, the wind was between south and west.
4.1 Playa Santiago To Targa With Variation (Walk 10)
I had done this walk twice previously, so knew roughly what was involved. The part through the former cultivation terraces is probably fair enough for one experience but, in my view, not more.
So we headed up your down route, which was hot work in mid 20s C, but OK.
The route to the climb up the Playa Santiago cliff is completely different to the map – but more similar to the blow up on the reverse.
Had lunch in the shade close to the FRANCISCO DIAZ BARROSO NAMEPLATE Waypoint. Waypoint beyond this particularly useful as otherwise not clear when to head up the hill to the right – though clearer looking back on it.
Turned left to Targa itself and then along a couple of paths to Alajero. Bar where second path joins road up from Playa Santiago closed. Turned off into central Alajero, where found an open bar with Bus Stop opposite. Perfect! Bus turned up on time and dropped us off by Jardin Tecina for next to nothing.
Conclusion on 1. I think the route we did is better than the one in the book – but I was looking for something different to the route through the cultivation terraces. Probably worth including as an alternative. The variation at the top was not planned in advance, but evolved when we got there.
The leg adjacent to the stream south of Targa is tricky/ steep sided in places with few foot/handholds.
An unexpected hazard was the local authority painting some of the bus stop benches – but not warning of this! My wife wrote off a pair of trousers! Not sure whether this is a seasonal event!
Overall, an enjoyable and rewarding walk. Nice to get up into the cool – and amongst some genuine village life.
4.2 Degollada de Peraza to San Sebastian (Walk 1)
This is one of the more accessible walks from Jardin Tecina without vertigo risk- although, by analysis of non-vertigo walks, I have since found a more accessible one, at least to start.
We had toyed with which is gazetted as a’ vertigo trial’ but I had done the bottom 75% of this on my own on a previous visit, and had backed off when I reached a very sheer slope; furthermore, a section of this looked very sheer on Google Earth. It also looked pretty aggressive from the top of Degollada de Peraza.
Up here, we were in cloudy conditions, but the cloud base was well above us.
Shortly after the start, there was no observable issue with the landslide you mention. The path is quite steep sided in places and flat sided in others. Throughout the first 75 % or so, it is dominated by views of the main road from San Sebastian up to Degollada – and traffic noise from it, which was a pity.
On the plus side, we had some good views, and encountered a watchful raven, which I had not previously seen on the island.
The run down into San Sebastian was hard work, along a made up but very uneven ‘donkey’ track.
To return, we had the options of buses or the Fred. Olsen Ferry. We chose the latter, to give us a chance to relax a bit, an opportunity to see this section of coast, and avoid the lengthy/somewhat tedious road route.
We enjoyed the ferry ride, albeit that it was late starting by half an hour, it appeared because of a mechanical issue.
Conclusion on 2. We enjoyed the walk, but were disappointed by the main road/traffic noise impact and the extent of uneven donkey tracks on the descent. Probably good for anyone to do once, but I do not think we would do it again.
4.3 Playa Santiago – Baja de Guane – El Aguila – La Trinchera – Playa Santiago (Short Walk)
This was really a ‘fill in’ while my wife wanted to sunbathe – which I cannot do. I have a friend who has a holiday Property Bond Investment and had stayed at ‘Balcon de Santa Anna’ – and wanted to have a look at this – and the walk round the cliffs outside shown on the map looked interesting.
All went according to plan – having your map on my iphone proved ever useful, as I was not sure how long I was along the walk, on several occasions. Good views of the cliffs and breaking seas – and a pleasantly made up path. Also a short link at the end down to Playa Santiago.
Conclusion on 3. An enjoyable and worthwhile short walk which it might be worth mentioning.
- Overall Conclusion On Walks
We expanded our horizons – though did not visit the Valle Gran Rey/El Cercado area this time.
We enjoyed our walks – which were much aided by your materials and, particularly, the digital functions, which had either not been available or we hadn’t been aware of before. The map on the iphone with the flashing curser and marked waypoints really is a massive help.
We were surprised how warm the weather was – particularly having experienced quite a cool Christmas here once. The countryside was much the most frazzled we had ever seen it.
I am quite a keen bird watcher. I missed the plain swifts over the mountains and villages, normally in abundance. On checking, I see they return to Africa for November and most of December. On the plus side, we had a hoopoe in the hotel grounds, where there were singing chiffchaff and blackcap, and the aforementioned raven.
I attach copies of our tracks, in case of interest. As your book suggests, we took a good bit longer than you did! I also include some vehicle/ferry tracks and one round of the golf course, in case of interest. The speed the ferries travel at is notable – and the time saving from San Sebastian to Playa Santiago by sea, as opposed to land. The golf round was quicker than for an average UK course – because the hole sequence was downhill?”
Thanks David! User feedback is like gold!
Are you off to any of these destinations soon?
Or maybe you’re thinking of planning a trip for later in the year, when the summer heat subsides and most visitors disappear, leaving all that space (almost) all yours.
If so, then here’s a great opportunity to get hold of digital Custom Maps free to download.
If you’ve ever used (or seen) one of DWG’s Tour & Trail maps you already know how detailed, clear and up to date they are.
Take a look at Discovery Walking Guides’ latest ENews to get hold of yours!
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 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.
Our thanks to Robert and Penny, recently returned from walking on Lanzarote. Here’s what they told us:-
We have just returned from 10 days walking in Lanzarote. Your book was a great help as there is little in the way of signs or clear path markers. Without your book we would have frequently got on the wrong
One comment, on walk 39, Caldera Blanca, We agree this was a
fantastic walk and the view from the crater rim were fantastic.
However, if we were to do this walk again we would have gone round the
other way (anti clockwise). The decent from the top was much steeper
and the path was full of small stones which required great care to
safely negotiate. We would have been much happier going up that way.
We walked in La Palma a few years ago and again found the guide great.
Thanks again for a great guide.
Robert and Jenny P
Our thanks go to Howard and Penny who recently returned from a walking holiday on the Canary Island of Lanzarote and have sent us these useful notes and updates for those who walk after them.
For more information about the book and map they used, see http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/lanz.htm
Dear David and Ros,
We have just returned from 2 weeks in Lanzarote guided by your excellent version 3 of Walk! Lanzarote. (We visited in 2008 with version 1)
We had a wonderful time and really had no issues at all in finding our way though a few little changes have arisen which we suspect arose after your visit. We particularly enjoyed some of the new routes.
Walk 13 The path from wp13 to wp17 has now been bulldozed out as part of the Orzola to Playa Blanca formal route so is now very easy to follow
Walk 22 This has now been upgraded into a defined path with illustrative notice boards and you are advised that stepping off the path is punishable. The English version of the notices are written in best Brussels Eurocrat speak so it is quite entertaining but the beauty of the place is not lost.
Walk 36 After the quite treacherous drop down to wp6 it was clear we were not wanted on the stone wall so we made a direct line for the extreme right end of the wall where we picked up the path. Looking at the footsteps we were not alone.
Walk 33 We set off up the path from the Recycling Bins at the start only for a lady from one of the houses to shout across to say we were on the wrong path. Clearly we were not the first walkers she had re-routed. The bins have been moved ca 75m up the road. The route begins from the path by the bus stop. How you got to wp 4 in 29 minutes amazed us, we were fairly close to your timings throughout the island but it took us close to an hour for this part of the route. We also struggled from wp 4-6 turning left far too early, it would have been clearer if wp5 had not been detailed and the route was described simply as aiming from wp 4 to the right hand side of the saddle where the track is clear at wp6.
Walk 39 Wonderful.
For those with restricted time we would combine walks 29 and 30 starting at wp1 in Haria and going directly to wp13 (a quick trip up to wp12 is well worth while) then continue to wp17 where you join walk 29 at wp4 and complete walk 29 from there.
Finally we wondered if anyone else had the same experience as us in Ye (walk 36). We were met at the church by two delightful small dogs who befriended us for the day, sticking with us all the way round. Sitting with us when we stopped to eat and then on return trotted off. They seemed to treat us as their dog walkers for the day. Has anyone else performed this service?
We see you are planning Fuerteventura, we have not been there so look forward to you guiding us around that island soon. One request though, please can you publish this with a ring bound spine, they are so much easier to work with.
Many thanks again
Howard and Penny
PS. Note for David, there is a new roundabout on the LZ30 where the LZ402 joins from Famara – a Cartologists work is never done.
We welcome all user feedback – and in particular for our new downloadable maps for Garmin GPS.
Erik is a Costa Blanca Mountains expert and guides walks in the region. https://www.walking-holiday-in-spain.com
See the maps he’s referring to here:-http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/CBM.htm
Here’s what he told us about his experiences using both our printed maps and our maps for Garmin GPS:-
“Over the last month my walking customers have been testing the Discovery Walking Guides sheet map (Costa Blanca Mountains Tour & Trail Map) and downloadable basemaps on the eTrek Garmin 20 GPS for the treks and walking holidays we organise in the Costa Blanca Mountains.
The sheet maps are useful, although the 1:40,000 scale in the Spanish countryside is at the limit for precise navigating, the roads on the map translate as 55 metres wide on the ground – easily enough to get misplaced for a while. Some of what appear as roads are overgrown dirt tracks that are now footpaths, you can still get through but it can be a bit confusing so if you want to go off the marked routes you will need to be patient.
The marking of existing official routes and recommended routes is very good, there are some minor omissions and in one case replicating an error found on the local 1:20,000 topo. Not perfect but a very good approximation and an improvement on the local maps. The problem here is still the abysmal way marking of routes on the ground.
The area covered is quite extensive, although some of my routes fall outside the eastern margin of the coverage.
The basemaps for the Garmin GPS are very good, despite an initial problem with the download (for some reason Windows 7 stripped off the filetype which you had to add manually) they are now installed on all my Garmins. The image is very clear, much better than my own 1:25,000 basemaps that blur on zooming in.
The maps load relatively quickly on start-up and as you are walking the change from one tile to another is very smooth, in fact it is barely perceptible.
All in all a great improvement for those of us who have been struggling with Spanish maps for years, My only reservation is the 1:40,000 scale, I would love it if you would considering publishing 1:20,000 or 1:25,000 maps as a future upgrade.”
Author/researcher Bob Greaves has re-walked a section of Walk 25 ‘Old Storridge Green’ to resolve an access issue:-
From: Bob Greaves, researcher and author of Walk around the Malverns.
The gate at Wp.14 now has a sign ‘Private No Public Right of Way’ so the route is blocked. This is such a shame as this has been a through route for decades, maybe even centuries; you will see that I actually describe it as ‘an ancient way’ in the text. However that doesn’t guarantee that it’s a public right of way!
There is a straightforward alternative which is to follow the ‘Geopark Way’ from Wp.12 to Wp.16,
unfortunately not so attractive and missing out on the ‘North Hill from Birchwood’ view. An alternative description might be:-
“….up a beautiful, sun-dappled track through woodland. Where a footpath crosses ours we turn right and follow the frequent signposts for the ‘Geopark Way’, out of woodland and up the left hand side of a couple of fields. With orchards and the courtyard development we passed earlier down to our right we turn left up a track back into woodland.
Out of the woods the path, smaller now, is through long grass to an updated black and white farmhouse. We skirt this anti-clockwise following yellow paint daubs then head straight on between fences to a lane. Here we have a brief opportunity to look across Birchwood Common before turning right. Finishing our dalliance with the ‘Geopark Way’, where the lane swings left and a track goes straight on……”
More information on Walk! Around The Malverns can be found here: http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/malverns.htm
If you’re off to Madeira, take a look at the island government’s website to check which routes are currently closed or undergoing work. Walking conditions can change quickly due to weather, landslides or other factors.
The Madeiran authorities recognise the importance of walking visitors to their lovely island and are quick to restore paths and levadas to good order.
It’s a useful website and updated frequently.
Here’s the link to the English language version http://www.visitmadeira.pt/?s=menu&e=/madeira/trekking&i=eng
From: Chris S
Date: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM
Walk 1 : Coming from the west, there is now a turn-off just before the tunnel, which leads to the LP301 (presently in a very poor state of repair, like most of the island’s roads).
Walk 6 : The walk starts just west of Centro de Visitantes de El Paso (Caldera de Taburiente also prominently displayed on the building).
Walk 7 : Descent from Birigoyo now starts with some tight, but easy zig-zags where there is insufficient grit or steepness to skitter. It’s not until you get down to the crater that you encounter a few inches of grit underfoot.
Walk 10 : Walking the rim of San Antonio crater now 5 euros pp. You might be able to sneak past the ticket office if you ignore the sign forbidding pedestrian access to the car park from the Fuencaliente side, but you have to present tickets to the young lady at the entrance to the visitor centre : the only realistic gateway onto the path. There is now chain fencing along the rim and on the narrower bit, it’s on both sides of you.
Walk 14 : The road up to El Pinar was surprisingly the best surface we drove on and the tarmac now extends further than the start point.
Walk 20 : Where the narrow tarmac lane taken at wp2 bends to the right in less than a minute, a waymarked path heads off to the left, rejoining the lane just above wp3. According to the signpost at wp2, the distance to Don Pedro is 6.n km.
Walk 30 : There are 2 signs to Pico de la Nieve on the track by the start of the walk, but they don’t indicate distance.
Walk 32 : The track leading to the car park at start of walk is now only suitable for 4WD, imo. Most of the hire cars which attempt it ,don’t make it all the way. The alternative signposted, but not waymarked, route to/from the ridge is very worthwhile. It involves a little bit more ascent and is a bit longer, but there are several points where different aspects of the peak and caldera are seen. Shortly after the last signpost : ‘1400 metres to Pista de Valencia’, the track forks and it’s the left branch, which soon dwindles to a path that leads more directly to the tarmac.
I’m going to write a review on amazon to emphasise the practical superiority of your guide over *********. I will certainly be buying your guides to the other Canaries, rather than wasting money on “updated” versions of **** ********* efforts, good though they were at the time they were written.