PR1SMA | The North Coast

PR1SMA | The North Coast

This trail starts at a place called Feteiras de Baixo, near the regional road, and it ends at Anjos. We start by going down along the road and then follow a narrow dirt path that leads to the edge of the cliff, from where we can contemplate the vastness of the sea. Turning here right towards Raposo Bay, follow the trail signals to find the path which will take you downhill to the sea shore.

This footpath, presently mostly used to reach the fishing spots within the bay, was once the most convenient access to the watermill services below. The two old watermills, where the miller processed his clients’ cereal in exchange for a couple of portions of the final product, are currently in a state of ruin.

Raposo Bay is classified as a Geosite, where the presence of lava flows showing prismatic or columnar disjunction on the top of the south slope of the Ribeira do Engenho, together with marine conglomerates, terrestrial conglomerates and alluvial silt fields, afford a striking evidence of the geological richness of the island. Coming up the hill, various species of the natural flora can be observed, such as the “pau-branco” (Picconia azorica), the fire tree (Morella faya) or the wild fig tree (Pericallis malvifolia), and also some introduced species like the orange pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum), the cane (Arundo donax) or the century plant (Agave americana). Some bird species can be observed and heard as well: the common buzzard (Buteo buteo rothschildi), the blackbird (Turdus merula), the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs moreletti), the Santa Maria chickadee (Regulus regulus sanctae-mariae), the Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria) or the European robin (Erithacus rubecula).

Back to the top of the cliff, follow the trail along a dense forest area that will lead you to the Barreiro da Faneca, which should be contoured by the left.
As you will notice, the terrain in this area is arid and clayey, with soft slopes and a reduced drainage density; it corresponds to the upper layer of a strongly decomposed lava flow from the Pico Alto Complex.

The trails signs will then lead you to the Cré Bay, also classified as a Geosite for its high and steep cliffs. Continue the path until you reach Anjos, where the history of Santa Maria’s settlement is marked by the presence of a small chapel, probably the first Christian temple of the Azores, and by the statue of navigator Christopher Columbus.