Photographer's Note

Levada das 25 Fontes, Rabaçal.

On the way to 25 sources (25 Fontes) like many walks in Madeira, the path follows a " levada ". Since the sixteenth century (by which time the first levadas were built) , these aqueducts are an important part of the irrigation system of the island , bringing to the arid southeast, flatter and therefore more conducive to crops and habitat , water that falls in abundance on the north-west of Madeira. Number of channels required tunneling to deliver this precious water to the south of the island. This is particularly the case of this levada , who is supplying water to farmland Calheta, and thus passes under the Paul da Serra via a tunnel about 800 meters long.

We can imagine how huge was the work to dig 2,150 km of Madeiran Levadas , often mountainside in extremely steep areas . This work has often been entrusted to slaves or convicts, and sometimes hired labor.

Today, levadas are also used for power generation and tourism. Each levada is bordered by a path, which today serves for hikers and for those responsible for maintenance of canals .

If you want to hike along a levada , I strongly advise you to bring good hiking shoes . The path sometimes summarizes (and this is the case in some places to rally 25 sources) to a very narrow trail of slippery stones. At moments of great affluence, it is sometimes difficult to cross. Don't forget a flashlight or headlamp in case you need to borrow a tunnel (they are not lit).

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