Vale Carapito, a property acquired by Rewilding Portugal to carry out conservation actions that reinforce the ecological corridor of the Greater Côa Valley, is the new area of practical application of rewilding in Portugal. Located near Vilar Maior, on the Sabugal municipality, it promises to be the new showcase of the benefits that rewilding has for nature and what results it can achieve.
Furthermore, in addition to the renaturalisation of the landscape and ecosystems, it will also have an important role in nature-based and sustainable tourism.
With a heterogeneous landscape, good diversity of habitats and associated species, the land of this property has very favorable conditions for rewilding, which is already being carried out. Vale Carapito is part of the Natura 2000 network and is part of the SIC Serra da Malcata and also benefits from its proximity to the village of Vilar Maior and its amenities and services, as well as from the historical and cultural heritage present in the region (Routes of Côa Valley and Historic Villages, small routes, etc.)
Several conservation actions have already taken place in recent months, namely the monitoring of flora and fauna, to study the plant and animal biodiversity of the property, as well as the landscape and soils, some of them with the support of Terra Prima. The objective of these monitoring actions is to know the territory in which we are working and to be able to compare current levels with the levels after application of rewilding measures (passive or active management in specific cases). Actions to promote natural grazing are also planned, through the use of herbivores in a semi-wild state; actions to remove obsolete structures, which act as barriers to the region’s wildlife; invasive species control actions; active fuel management actions and territorial surveillance actions.
A herd of ten Sorraia horses is currently living in Vale Carapito, an initiative to recover the importance that these large herbivores have in managing and shaping the landscape. There are currently only about two hundred horses of this native Portuguese breed in the world, so its introduction in the Greater Côa Valley is «an important milestone». The herd is living in a semi-wild state and playing a key role in transforming the landscape and demonstrating the results of the rewilding approach to nature conservation. These horses came from the Sorraia Horse Nature Reserve, in Alpiarça, and their choice is also an “effort and contribution” to the conservation and enhancement of this native breed.
The commitment to carry out nature-based tourism through Vale Carapito will generate new economic opportunities for the community, developing a new business model that allows bringing nature back to areas important for biodiversity. Helping nature to recover, restoring functional ecosystems with a great abundance and diversity of wildlife can bring benefits to local populations.
For this reason, you already can visit Vale Carapito in a guided tour with Wildlife Portugal, member of Wild Côa Network. The reservations can be made here. Tourist packages have also been created directed to the international comunity, through partnerships with Impact Trip and the European Safari Company.
Fauna and flora of Vale Carapito
Como chegar a Vilar Maior
Vilar Maior is part of the Aldeia da Ribeira, Vilar Maior and Badamalos parish. It is located in the municipality of Sabugal and has good road access. Although it is easier to access it by car, there are also buses that go from Sabugal to Vilar Maior and whose timetables can be found here. It is possible to reach Sabugal for transfer (via bus) to Vilar Maior from all corners of the country, either by train (using the CP regional line that connects Sabugal to Guarda and other municipalities in the district) as well as by bus through several connections with the other districts of the district.
The location coordinates are 40.47775057532103, -6.931877984354944 and you can have acess to them here.