Walking from Montalvao, PR7-NIS

Montalvão is a small, remote, hilltop village (and castle) close to the border with Spain. We were there to try out another of the walks, the PR7-NIS, in the new book published by the Portuguese Tourist Office. The walk is across the hills and down to the the Sever River, the border between Portugal and Spain.

PR7 – NIS; 7.5 kms, c.2.5 hours, moderate (steep down & up)

Map PR7-NIS (http://webb.ccdr-a.gov.pt/alentejoape/upload/31_folheto_en_folheto_pr7-nis_ing.pdf)
Map PR7-NIS (http://webb.ccdr-a.gov.pt/alentejoape/upload/31_folheto_en_folheto_pr7-nis_ing.pdf)

We parked in the square alongside the church, glanced over the roofline of varied chimneys, greeted the stork, and then set off between stone walls into the warm and beautiful countryside.

The roofline alongside the Church in Montalvao

Stork in Montalvao

Countryside just outside Montalvao

Campanula

Umbilicus Rupestris in the stone walls near Montalvao

PR7 at MontalvaoI enjoyed looking for different varieties of Cistus and along this part of the walk they were all white, small and large and with different size spots (Cistus Ladanifer), or even none at all (Cistus Salvifolius).

The hills here used to be planted with wheat, and grazed by sheep and cattle, but as these small villages have become depopulated the hills are now covered with pine and eucalyptus forests.

Pine & Eucalyptus forests at Montalvao

Eucalyptus trees at Montalvao

The countryside at Montalvao

The Sever River, PR7 at Montalvao - Portugal on the left & Spain on the right!
The Sever River, PR7 at Montalvao – Portugal on the left & Spain on the right!

This is all that remains of the water mill at Nogueira, the first of the two mills on this walk. I assume these would have been used to grind the wheat previously grown on the surrounding hillsides. It was quiet and peaceful and we sat and enjoyed the warmth, and the wildflowers on the border of Portugal and Spain.

A deserted watermill on the Sever River, PR7

Pink Cistus near the Sever River, PR7 Montalvao

The path along the Sever River is fine at the moment, but it is narrow and I think that with increasing footfall will become dangerous and really needs duckboards, or shoring up to prevent it from sliding into the adjacent river.

The path along the Sever River, PR7-NIS The path along the Sever River, PR7-NIS

The Sever River, PR7-NIS

The second watermill, Artur’s Mill, is also a ruin although there is decking and a wall to sit on. It was quiet, warm and peaceful and a enjoyable stop before tackling the very steep uphill path. It is fine as long as you pause for breath!

Artur's Watermill on the Sever River
Artur’s Watermill on the Sever River

The Sever River, PR7-NIS

The uphill path at Montalvao

Ornithogalum at Montalvao

And once on the top of the hill there are again wonderful views – I think we were looking at Castelo Branco in the far distance. There was also an OMG moment when we encountered a small lake in the path.

16-4-22 Walk at Montalvao LR-0771

16-4-22 Walk at Montalvao LR-0775

The countryside at Montalvao

The Chapel of Santa Margarida is a ruin on the outskirts of Montalvão and closed off so we did not venture closer.

16-4-22 Walk at Montalvao LR-0780

Sheep grazing outside Montalvao

And then we were back in Montalvão with its Castle which was probably part of the border fortifications strengthened by King Dinis in the 13C and 14C.

The remains of the Castle walls under the watertower, Montalvao
The remains of the Castle walls under the watertower, Montalvao

You may be interested in
A leaflet about the walk (Portuguese)
Flora of Portugal – useful for identifying plants

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