The Walking Festival Ameixial (WFA) embodies a strong sense of responsibility towards the area of Ameixial, its values and its people. Every year we try to do something that values and preserves its heritage, its natural values, or that helps the local economy and stimulates a sustainable relationship between visitors and the local community. Here are some of these actions:
One of the attractions of Ameixial is its network of signposted walking trails (4 routes, together approximately 60km). Before the festival, we toured these routes to assess the state of their signposting and, in the event of signposting deficiencies or degradation, we supported the replacement of them, together with the municipality of Loulé.
In 2018 and 2020, with the help of dozens of volunteers, we planted hundreds of cork oaks, holm oaks, strawberry trees, oaks, chestnut trees and other natural forest species in this territory. We wanted to contribute to the preservation of this territory's forest, recover species once known here, increase its floristic diversity and enhance public spaces, such as Fonte da Seiceira, one of the most visited places in Ameixial.
The village of Corte D'Ouro holds a very special ethnographic built heritage: circular stone haystacks with rye roofs. Due to its state of abandonment and degradation, we decided in 2019, with the support and valuable knowledge of the owners, to proceed with the restoration of the roof of one of them, using ancient techniques. With the help of many volunteers we recovered that roof and today the hayloft can be visited by anyone who goes to the village.
IMPROVEMENTS OF WALKING TRAILS
In 2022 we intervened in one of the circular footpaths existing in Ameixial with the purpose of qualifying it and making it more appealing to walkers. The action consisted in the construction and installation of a bench made of “taipa", for visitors to rest during the "Ameixial Trail". The work carried out included: obtaining the earth on site, preparing the ground, assembling the rammed earth, preparing the earth and manually compacting it into a wooden board, and building the bench. In addition to promote this century-old technique of sustainable construction using earth materials, the organization wanted to create a long-lasting experience for the enjoyment of those who visit the site. Today it is possible to rest on this bench and admire a beautiful landscape over the village of Ameixial
This activity was conducted with the collaboration of Engenharia da Taipa, an expert in “taipa” construction incubated at QRIAR.
UPPORT FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Contributing to the local economy has been and will continue to be one of the main goals of the Ameixial hiking festival. Through the involvement of local agents, whether from catering services, accommodation or others, this event aims to generate income locally. Per edition, the festival has invested thousands of euros in Ameixial and its adjacent territories, derived from the sale of hundreds of meals, nights in rural accommodation and other services, such as acquisition of materials, products, among others. It is believed that, since 2013, the total direct economic return in this territory exceeds 40 000€.