For 17 years, David Littlewood has been walking the back roads of the Algarve. Sometimes alone and other times with the Algarve Wednesday Walkers (AWW). ECO123 met him in São Brás de Alportel under a smoky sky and asked him whether it is a meditative process that motivates him to walk. His reply was grounded in the nature of the man, “No, it is just one foot in front of the other, and if I am with a group, there is a lot of chatter.”
He explained, when he started walking in the Algarve, there was only one main guide book, which was out of date. In recent times a few Councils have produced leaflets and put up internationally agreed signs to help walkers stay on track. But often this is not enough for the serious, responsible walker. So to help people navigate their way around some of the walking routes in the central and western Algarve he has created a resource for walkers that includes Google maps, planned routes with GPS points, distances and compass directions on a website called ‘On foot in the Algarve‘.
His intention in spending two years to develop the website is to pay tribute to long-term walkers, who have led many of the documented walks. David said, “the AWW were responsible for the original Algarve Way/Via Algarviana long-distance footpath.” The group continues, to walk and new members join by invitation. Led by an experienced leader, they meet at a pre-arranged point and start walking promptly at 9:30 am, with 20-25 minutes for lunch.
David has documented 40 walks, some traversed by the group others he has identified and tested. The walks are not a stroll, but would fall into the category of ‘moderately difficult.’ The distances are between 13 – 24 kilometres. Most of the walks are in the Central or Western Algarve. The furthest walk in the East is near São Brás de Alportel.
The starting point for each walk is outlined with small details as are the walks themselves. So, for example, here is the kind of detail you will see when visiting the site:
Barragem do Arade Circular; 17.2K; Ascent: 604 metres
Getting to the start.
From the west, travel to Silves (from the A22 Silves/Lagoa exit, or the N125 at Lagoa) and pick up the N124 by crossing the river into the town. Turn right along the main road and travel out of the town. After 4.25k cross a long viaduct. 1.6k further on turn left, signed to the Barragem do Arade. Ignore one turn to the right, and after 2k see tiny Cafe Zé on the left. Park here.
David Littlewood said, “I have tried to add enough detail to create extra confidence for the walker.” He is already planning a second series of walks to be added to the site.
Currently, the website is in English, but he is open to anyone helping with translation into Portuguese and German.