If any of you know us and our walking, we are never great at following a trail. However, the trail of Santa Ana PR1-SLV was a surprising hidden treasure. Without a doubt, life is about learning, exploring and having adventures. Consequently, we embraced the Covid19 years and it was a great opportunity to discover areas away from the people. Messines has been a town for many years we have regarded as kind of boring. However, in the past year it has grown on us. Furthermore, we are sure to be writing more posts of discoveries in the Messines, Silves areas.
We walk in a small group of 4, the Amorosa Amblers. Our 1st choice post 2021 lockdown was PR1-SLV locally known as the Santa Ana (Sant´ Ana) walk. This is a walk we have undertaken 3 or 4 times already but never the official trail. Nevertheless, we have a mission to add some more official trails to the Pac4Portugal (Alex Cracknell) Wikiloc content.
Officially, the PR1-SLV is called the “Percurso Pedestre Culture de São Bartolomeu de Messines”. It starts by the Primary School near the post office. A sandstone curved out path winds you up the hill (Penedo Grande) behind the town.
It was very green when we undertook the walk and it felt like you more like in northern Europe than Portugal. This 2,7km loop was for us a true hidden treasure and really want to return and explore it more. At the top you will see a view point “Torre de Vigia”. In particular, on a clear day you can see up to Alentejo and down the sea. Unfortunately, it was not like that for us, but the views were still great.
After Penedo Grande, you wander through the outskirts of Messines towards the west. Then starts the walk along the side of the main railway line to Lisboa. A 1.8km gravel track allows you to see some of the relaxed country life of the Portuguese. You cut across a stream which in the summer is no problem but after rain you maybe choosing the stepping stone method. Fortunately for us it was only about an inch deep (but slippery) so we most of us choose to walk through it.
Another 600m winding away and then back to the railway comes the next challenge. The river, most times of the year you can just walk through (as pictured far right). Nonetheless, unlike the picture, for us it was a challenge as full of water. If you are careful it is possible to cross using the railway bridge (at your own risk).
Once the other side the ascent starts to Santa Ana. Normally we go the short steep way, but this time we followed the gravel road and wound up to it. Santa Ana church these days is just a ruin, but there are great elements still to see. There is a tile of Santa Ana (pictured right) at the back. To the front is a stone on the floor “Requiescant in Pace”, Latin for RIP. Underneath is buried the bodies of around 100 soldiers. Just up and in front of the church you will find a painted tile showing the points of the battle (pictured below). Battle of Sant´Ana was 24 April 1984 between the Miguelistas (supporters of King Miguel I) and the Liberais (Constitutionalists).
Leaving the Santa Ana church the trail winds up hill a little (if you want a small detour go to the trigpoint). Then the path wanders down and along the River Arade. A pleasant trail and we were lucky enough to see the river about 70% full. Besides, as you leave the river, you will pass the house as pictured right, on a sunny day the colours are amazing.
At about the 9.2km mark of the walk you have around 400m on tarmac. Then you turn off to the right to start the ascent back towards Messines. This continues with beautiful countryside and great areas you just want to explore. After a 1km you come to cross point of two trails, however we turn left and follow the small tarmac road and through Bairro do Furadouro. You will see a charming little church on the hill by the railway track. We now cross the railway track and start to enter Messines town again.
Yet there is still more. About 100m after you pass the start of the no entry for cars (one way system) you turn left. We know this part well as to the right of the turning our fantastic physiotherapists (Paula and Ines). Together they keep all 4 members of the Amorosa Amblers moving.
The small cobble streets lead you through the old town. Passing the birth place of Joao de Deus, a famous Portuguese poet. A little further along you will also pass the town church. Do not follow our map at this point, go back into the old part. You will see the Joao de Deus museum, an impressive looking building. Without a doubt in the future, we will add a post about him and discovering Messines old town. As you come out of the old town, you pass the cemetery on the right. Finally, a few hundred metres you are at the end of the 12.5km (officially) walk.
We hope that you have enjoyed this insight to PR1-SLV Santa Ana trail and look forward to sharing more. Furthermore we hope some of our friends and clients can follow this route again with us. Last but not least, go explore, have adventures and feel alive!