Branda de Santo António (Saint Anthony Lea)


During the Middle Ages, the agricultural husbandry economy greatly evolved in the Alto Minho region and the nomad practices grew in expression. That’s how leas or “wintery lands” were born. There are still several examples of this type of open settlements in high places, usually at 1650 feet high or more. The Branda de Santo António de Vale de Poldros, located in the Riba de Mouro parish, is one of these examples, and its origin lies probably in the Middle Ages. Located half way up the hill, at about 3.300 feet high, this lea stands beside Vez River. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy amazing views over the whole region! Venture through this seasonal agriculture area, merged into an extremely beautiful natural landscape, where you’ll find a great amount of "cardenhas" - which are no more than primitive buildings made of granite and schist. This is where shepherds and farmers live during summer months. In case you come at that time of the year, you’ll be able to see them taking advantage of pastures at the Serra da Peneda. At night, they head to the “cardenhas”, where the ground floor is intended for animals and the first floor for men. Nowadays, and next to these “cardenhas”, there are some summer houses that have been built over the last years. Don’t miss the opportunity to know the Branda de Santo António de Vale de Poldros, the most important and better preserved lea of the mountain range of Peneda!

Monção (Viana do Castelo)

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