This trail begins at the mother church “São João de Ovil”. As a curiosity, part of the Romanesque frieze on the north facade of the church is a testimony of the first temple built here.
At the start of the course, the landscape seen in the half-slope areas reflects the dynamic nature of the vegetation and the way it evolved in the absence of man-made disturbances. The agricultural and pastoral abandonment allowed for the recovery of spontaneous vegetation and the development of oak-trees.
The amount of genisteae and Adenocarpus complicatus blend into the landscape and reflect the path taken by nature through the forest. The natural forest is interspersed here and there with eucalypt and wild pine trees. The slopes of the mountain range are mainly outlined with water courses, habitats to black willow and alder. There you can find a variety of fauna, such as the Iberian frog or the Iberian emerald lizard (the males can be distinguished more easily during their breeding season due to the turquoise colouring of the neck and head).
At the higher part of the route, you will find most of the emblematic monuments of the Megalithic Complex of the Serra da Aboboreira: Menir da Pena, Chã de Parada 1 and Meninas de Crasto 3.
The configuration of the granite floor of the monolith “Pena”, allows us to guess that it could be a menhir. If this assumption is correct, this is Serra da Aboboreira’s only menhir.
Dolmen 1 Chã de Parada is a national monument since 1910 that impresses all those who witness its dimensions and experience its quietness. That was the experience the writer José Saramago had and that eventually recorded:
"The traveller turns and there he finds a corridor, and inside the very spacious room, he finds the monument taller than what it seemed from the outside(...) and under it is nothing. The silence is limitless. Under these stones, the traveller withdraws from the world. (...) that men had lifted with their own hands this very heavy slab, trimmed and perfected as a defile, and that talks took place here, where the dead laid. The traveller sits on the sandy floor and places between two fingers a tender stem, born by a pillar and bowing his head, he finally can hear his own heart. "
Viagem a Portugal, p. 34 (Journey to Portugal)
Some prehistoric engravings can also be found in some of the walls of the dolmen chamber, they are more noticeable when you know the exact location, so it is preferable to schedule a guided visit with the Archaeological Center of the Municipal Museum of Baião. It is a civil responsibility to preserve these engravings for future generations.
In contrast with Chã da Parada, the dolmen Meninas de Castro 3 is of much more modest dimensions and you can also enjoy its simplicity. In addition to megalithic monuments, you can also find some beautifully decorated 19th century “alminhas” (Wayside shrines that only exist in Portugal) and refresh yourself in the Fonte do Mel (A fountain with sweet water). Come and learn about the “Pedra do sol”, the reason the shepherds named an isolated granite batholith as the sun’s stone is because it works naturally as a sundial.
The trail finishes at the chapel Sra. da Guia, from where you will find a beautiful landscape to behold.