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This rural tourism is located on a farm that borders the village of Santa Clara-a-Velha, the headquarters of the parish of the same name. The village has a population of 948 residents and covers an area of 99.42 km2.
The parish was integrated into the Odemira municipality at the beginning of the 19th century. Historically, it belonged to the domains of the Order of Santiago de Espada, which authorized the residents to build a chapel at the end of the 15th century.
The white and flowery village, the headquarters of the parish, developed under the shadow of the Church of Santa Clara de Assis and grew alongside the fertile lands of the Mira River Valley, with the mountain range being its predominant landscape.
Agriculture and livestock are the predominant activities in the parish, although there are also services and commerce. A large portion of the parish area is also covered by forest.
The village of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which has maintained its rural character, deserves a careful and prolonged visit. Starting with the Church of Santa Clara de Assis, but also the Azinhal Fountain located inside the Azinhal Farm, near which there is a pleasant picnic park open to all who want to enjoy it.
Built in the 19th century in 1892, the Azinhal Fountain supplied the village with water until the arrival of canalized water from the dam, which was later built. However, it is still widely visited for the quality of its water.
A must-see is the Santa Clara Dam, 4 km from the headquarters of the parish and the farm. Ordered to be built by the Estado Novo, the dam covers an area of 1986 hectares and is considered one of the largest in Europe. Fed by the Mira River, the water from Santa Clara travels 84.9 km of canals, 50.4 km of distributors, and 309.6 km of irrigation channels.
The Santa Clara water mirror is one of the strongest tourist attractions in the interior of the Odemira municipality. A stroll around this giant lake allows you to observe its numerous corners and islets, almost always surrounded by a forest landscape. From the wall or from the top of the hill that houses the Santa Clara Inn, the grandeur of the dam impresses.
In its waters, you can practice canoeing, rowing, skiing or sport fishing, as there are plenty of achigã, pimpão, and lobster.
Herdade do Azinhal
Bordering the picturesque village of Santa Clara-a-Velha, the Azinhal Farm extends over 120 hectares of rugged terrain with beautiful landscapes that stretch to a horizon that is limited by the mountainous outline of the Monchique Range to the south and, to the north, about 200 meters, the receding Santa Clara Dam.
The farm has a typical flora of the mountain interior with a cork oak and holm oak forest and is crossed by paths that allow for peaceful walks or more radical bicycle or jeep rides, in permanent contact with nature. The proximity of the dam waters invites you to bring your fishing rod and prepare to bring home beautiful achigãs.
If you prefer to explore the village, you can visit the arches of the ancient Ponte de D. Maria or Roman Bridge, as it is also known, on a peaceful walk along the road to the Dam.
This was an important medieval road, perhaps on an older route that was probably Roman, which passed through Garvão and headed towards the Algarve. It left traces in the toponomy in the Vale de Corte Brique (Estalagem Velha and Venda Velha) and in the Vale da Ribeira de Telhares (Porto dos Almocreves).
In the early 19th century, a masonry bridge was built following other works, including the section of road that connects the village to S. Martinho to facilitate transit over the Rio Mira. In the mid-20th century, an intervention caused a partial collapse of this bridge. In 1996, the classification instruction process for this bridge was opened by IPPAR. After viewing the bridge, you can continue your walk along the Rio Mira and go to the dam wall for a walk of approximately 4 km.
You can also visit the Monchique Thermal Springs, located just 30 km from the farm, with specific treatment and rehabilitation plans that you can enjoy by going there daily and staying at the farm.
If you prefer the beach, know that you have the beautiful white sand and high cliffs of the Costa Vicentina very close by, which you can easily access. Try spending your day at the beach and, in the evening, enjoy the peace of the countryside.
You can reach the Estate by train if you prefer. The Santa Clara-a-Velha train station is only 2.5 km from the town and the Estate.
The Estate has recently renovated 5 houses using traditional local materials. The renovation aimed to provide them with all the necessary means for quality rural tourism, in the form of country houses due to their proximity to the town.
References to the existing buildings there date back to 1869. Some were intended for housing, others for supporting agricultural activities: an oil press was licensed for this activity in the last century with various licenses from the 1930s and following, another for wine, and a stable. All of these buildings are harmoniously distributed around a central square with a well that has the peculiarity of being fed by rainwater from one of the roofs of the house with the largest area. The oven, also restored, which was used to bake bread, is not missing.
The houses are made of adobe and stone, with traditional roofing and design that was preserved during the renovation to restore the urban complex to its original identity and highlight its most characteristic features, while also providing all the necessary requirements for rural tourism. The design of the houses and their comfort makes them particularly interesting. Any one of them would make an excellent retreat for a well-deserved break. The proximity to the village of Santa Clara allows for short walks on foot or, if you prefer by car, to have coffee or a meal at one of the local restaurants serving regional dishes, including those made with hunted partridges or wild boars from the Herdade lands or nearby areas. Bring your family or friends and discover the Alentejo interior! We look forward to welcoming you.