LOCATION - GENERAL CHARACTERIZATION

The Alvão Natural Park (ANP) is located in the north of Portugal, in the province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Vila Real district) which includes both councils: Vila Real and Mondim de Basto.

The ANP is located in the Alvão and Marão mountain ridges and spreads all over an area of approximately 7220 acres, occupied mainly by the head of the hidrological basin of river Ôlo, affluent of river Tâmega.

The ANP develops over the western slope of the Alvão mountain ridges, working as a condensation barrier relatively to the humid mass of air coming from the Atlantic Ocean, which means that it stands as a transition area between coastal (humid air) and inland (dry air) climates. This transition is affected by an altitudinal component, mostly notorious in Lamas d´Ôlo at about 1000 meters of altitude.

Geomorphologically the ANP is characterized for being an high altitude area, with a large granite basin where river Ôlo is born (as well some of its afluents), and one low altitude area of schist (Ermelo) where river Ôlo runs creeped along the plaits of the reliefs.

Between Lamas d´Ôlo (high altitude) and Ermelo (submounted valley), stands a barrier of quartzites that, due to its hardness, may be responsible for the blunt transition between the two areas, originating an axle defined by the spectacular water falls of Fisgas de Ermelo.  In an 8 Km road you can descend 550 meters from Lamas d´Ôlo (1000 meters of altitude) to Ermelo (450 meters of altitude). However, the differential between the highest spot-level of the Natural Park (the geodesic vertex of Cravelas, with 1339 meters) and the lowest spot-level (in the Volta da Lousa, with 260 meters) is even higher: 1079 meters.

FLORA

High heterogeneity of habitats of great importance: oak-groves Portuguese-Galician  (negral-oak and roble-oak), Atlantic humid undergrowths of heath or forests of birch-trees in peat-mosses for example. Within the array of species living in this environment stand out the following: hollies, bilberries, prunellas, the wood anemone, columbines, etc.

   

FAUNA

This protected environment is very important to the preservation of bats (long tail bat and the moustache bat), water moles, wolfs, otters, snipes, eagles, peregrine-falcons, rock blackbirds, flycatchers, magpies with red beak, bullfinches. There are as well: field-mouses, wild-cats, owls, water-lizards, vipers, etc.

RURAL LANDSCAPE

Thikets, marshes, rye and corn fields. Fruit trees, olive-trees and vineyards located on the margins of the terraces of the basal area.

MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPE

Uncultivated areas: rocky flushes, thickets (heath, shrubs, furze, flowered shrubs and gulf-weeds), oak-groves, widowhoods, and pine-woods.

TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE

Granite buildings with straw roofs in the uplands; schist and slate roofs in the basal area.

 

MOUNTAIN ECONOMY

Maronesa cow breeding as well as wild goats (species in danger of extinction).