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near Oleiros, Castelo Branco (Portugal)
This walk is promoted by Oleiros council and the tourist office. A leaflet descibing this walk is available from the tourist office in both English and Portuguese, ask for PR5 Trilhos do Cabrito. Whilst the name of the walk is 'goat trail' we never saw one goat although there were information boards descibing the history of goat herding in the area. I assume the lack of goats was either because it was too cold to let them out or this walk got its name from older times when goat herders would follow the river (Ribeira da Serta) when making to market at either Oleiros or Serta.
During times of high rainfall it would appear the land bordering the river on its northern side is prone to flooding, numerous signs were placed advising caution at these times.
The walk starts in Oleiros where parking is free and is also plentiful provided it isn't market day. Alternatively the walk could be started at the picnic area situated at its western extremity which would allow the walk being broken in Oleiros by a visit to one of the numerous cafes for a warming cup of coffee.
The route along the northern bank of the river is to all intents and purposes level and birdlife abounds, the only hazard is as mentioned following heavy rain. The river is also easily accessible so during warmer months it would be possible to remove your boots and cool your feet.
From the western extremity the route south of the river back towards Oleiros intially along a quiet tarmac road away from the river before leaving the road and loosely following the river on the valley side. This section can be steep in places and slippery underfoot due to fallen leaves and a coating of frost on the ground, during the winter months this sec tion never enjoys the bright winter sun being shielded from it by the height of the valley sides.
A short detour off the route is available to visit a small water powered mill. Eventually the river is rejoined on the outskirts of Oleiros before crossing a bridge and heading back into town.
The route can be cut short at this point if desired.
Spotted a cormorant flying just above the water's surface.
The old mill is just a short detour of 0.8 kilometres (there and back) off the publicised track. Look for this signpost.
The free-flowing water here didn't look very appealing and the town is very near, I'd give it a miss..
Albeit small it is intact and seeing the tracks left by vehicles I assume it is still in use.
Lots of parking except on market day..
View of the picnic area and weir from the bridge used to cross the river at the western extremity of the route.
The bridge across the river at the eastern extremity of the route.
A very quiet and peaceful spot but, according to the signs, prone to flooding after prolonged heavy rainfall.
Numerous small birds spotted flitting from tree to tree.
The official start point of this route.
The steepest part of the whole route starts here (or ends here if you're doing the route clockwise), the steps are beneficial, as is the handrail along this steep narrow section, the only issue being that whilst the protective wooden railing is sturdy the handrail is too great a diameter to grasp for those with small hands.
A viewing platform built beside the road looking down onto the flood plain and beyond it the main road between Oleiros and Serta.
There is also a concrete table at this location that could be used as a picnic table. If you're lucky you might get a glimpse of the Robin.