Bestança — Montemurano River
Cinfães is a municipality in the District of Viseu, forming one of its 24 municipalities. It is located in the Southern region of Douro and is integrating the sub region of Tâmega (NUTIII).
It is bordered to the North by the municipalities of Baião and Marco de Canaveses to the South by the municipality of Castro Daire; to the Northwest by Resende; to the West by the municipality of Castelo de Paiva.
The municipality of Cinfães has an area of 241.5 km2, placed between the rivers Douro (North), Paiva (to the West) and the broom of Cabrum (to the East). This area is spread through seventeen parishes.
The resident population is of 21824 inhabitants showing a decrease in population. From 1950 to 2002 Cinfães lost about 9663 individuals.
The strong emigration, resulting from the lack employability provided by the municipality helps the evidenced demographic depletion and leaves an aged population.
However, the touristic potentialities of Cinfães sheltered in the protected landscape, its rich architecture and popular heritage, the good gastronomy and the hospitality of its people, can contribute to reverse this situation and when properly used can lead to sustainable wealth creation and setting of the active population.
One of the most genuine and rich touristic spots of the municipality is Bestança Valley of which we will make a brief characterization about its patrimonial, natural and human aspects.
Characterization of River Bestança
Spring: In the Mountain of Montemuro, next to Portas de Montemuro, to an altitude of 1229 m;
Estuary: Souto of the River, to an altitude of 110 m
Extension: 13,5 KM
Direction: Spring/Estuary: SSE/NNV
Main tributaries: Left bank: brook of Barrondes, brook of Enxidrô. Right bank: Brook of Alhões, brooks of Soutelo and Chã.
The hydrological basin of the river Bestança is represented in the Military Chart of Portugal, scales 1: 25.000, pages 136 and 146 of the Army’s Cartographic Services as well as in the Geologic Chart of Portugal, scale 1:50.000, page 14-A, of the Geologic Services of Portugal.
Peopling of Bestança Valley: upper third: mountain peopling more agglomerated and spaced between central, middle and lower third: dispersed peopling only more agglomerated near the main ways of communication and population centres. The localization of detached houses does not exceed 600 m above sea level dominating from there the forest or the lands where the rock arises.
Agricultural Exploitation: fields disposed in terraces and sloping downs swamps in upper third (ground of granitic origin – bedrock: granite).
Economy of the valley: Water mills (still working in Soutelo, Valverde, Pelisqueira, Pias, Cinco Rodas); Agricultural products (maize, beans, potato, wine, chestnut, honey).
Flora: In higher areas predominates the subshrubby or herbaceous vegetation; Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa Miller) in Soutelo and Daixa; Oak (Quercus sp) in the bottom of Alhões, Pelisqueira; wild pine tree (Pinus pinaster Aiton) in Mourelos and Valverde. In the riverbed the alder develops itself (Alnus glutinous), ash-tree () and willow (Salix sp). We can also find Crataegus monoginea, Prunus sp. spread through the valley.
Fauna: Otter, riders, wild-cat, fox, wild boar, badger, Lusitanian salamander, blackbird, wagtail, jay, ujo, owl, glede. Piscicultural species: trout, eel, bream.
Geology of the riverbed: Porphyritic granite medium size grain.
Heritage to visit
Religious Heritage: Church of Ferreiros de Tendais where we call the special attention to its baroque altars and coffered ceiling; Church of Santa Cristina de Tendais and matrix Church of Cinfães, Chapel of São Pedro do Campo.
Many small shrines and crosses spread along the paths. We advise you to pay attention to the cross on the yard opposite to the chapel of São Sebastião, in Mourelos, Tendais.
Archaeological areas: Castro of Monte das Coroas in Ferreiros and Castêlo de Tendais (villages from the Iron Age); Quinta da Chieira (remnants of the Roman occupation) in Cidadelhe.
Villages worth visiting
Alhões (we stand out the “sunny spots” in the centre of the village, the small shrines encrusted in the walls of the houses and the churchyard of Alhões where its inhabitants used to negotiate with the shepherd’s leader the income to pay for the flocks of Serra da Estrela during the transhumance season).
Bustelo, where we highlight the flagstone that works as a communitarian threshing-floor and that named the village; the row of houses is also quite interesting as well as the medieval paths that take to Bestança and the water mills of Costa Limpa;
Chã, where there was the famous tower of Chã built by Geraldo Geraldes, The Fearless and from where we can see the hill of Monte Faião. Rather interesting are the secular chestnuts trees that two men can barely embrace that can be found off to the north of the village on the way to Bestança;
Boassas, classified in 1938 as the second most typical village of Portugal. It is interesting the row of houses crowded at Arribada and the nineteenth century chapel where inside stand out two lateral altars and the coffered ceiling that portrays the passion of Christ.
Also worth a visit the villages of Pias (its houses showing examples of traditional architecture) and Vila de Muros (we call the attention to the pureness of the village and the beautiful building of “Andrade” Primary School).
Other villages with interest: Vila Viçosa, Marcelim, Mourelos, Meridãos (with interesting centenarian crosses) and Soutelo (from the way leaving the village to Bestança with a magnificent sight of Bestança Valley and the stratified furrows of Granja that fill up with the river).
Beginning and ending: Largo da Nogueira, village of Vila de Muros.
Follow for the asphalt road and turn left after the cemetery. Pass the bridge of Covelas over Bestança and climb to the village of Covelas. In the first cut turn right and go straight to the village of Carreira Chã. This path crosses two brooks and begins near the right bank of Bestança. When arriving at the crags of Arruínha turn right and go down the enclosure until a concrete bridge that crosses the river. You are now at Prado.
Follow the paved path until Valverde and then by the asphalt until Vila de Muros where the route ends.
Interest sights: Bridge of Covelas, village of Covelas, route of Carreira Chã, wooden bridges of Prado, water mills, brook of Barrondes, river Bestança, crags of Arruínha where gledes build their nests.
You must carry with you the leaflet edited by C.M.C. and by ADVB.
The trail is marked and signalized.
Unfortunately a part of the track (area of Carreira Chã) was burnt. The signs had been destroyed but we will place new ones. Beyond the sadness that we feel the indignation for the destroyed forest heritage will remain. We will continue for conformism is the shelter of the weak.
Due to the fire we recommend to make this walk after spring. During this season the extraordinary regeneration of nature loans once again the green to what are now barren and black lands. Green for hope…
Main sites for summer holidays
Well of Morangueiro (Cinco Rodas), Pias (upstream and downstream of Pias bridge), Well of Aveleiras (Açoreira), Black Well and Women’s Well (Covelas).