A walk around the fort at Cabanas. Unwelcome Autumn Changes.

Some of my gloom in this ‘post truth’ world was not just the cloudy autumn weather in Cabanas,  Portugal but the very intimidating fence put up to prevent locals and visitors from walking along the small cliffs at the end of the Cabanas broad walk. It took some time and discussions with some exploration to find out about this no access fence.

These are photos I found from a sunny January a few years back where there had been open access and an established path along the cliff, around the fort and down to the far end off the beach by the majestic old pine trees. We have always enjoyed taking friends along this route too. It is part of the natural beauty at the edge of eastern Cabanas.

Along the Ria Formosa it is designated a nature reserve and national park but the edges along the cliffs do seem to be privately owned. We ventured cautiously along the fence and the cliff edge and came to more space in front of the fort. Here it was the path again but just past the fort there was a fence with big signs up again restricting the route along the top path by the pines.
At the end of the pines there is a route down to the beach area of the river lagoon and another leading back past a farmhouse. No one tends to use that path as there is a farm building and barking big dogs at the end of it! It seems it is the owner of this land who after many many years and at least 15yearsmfor us being in Cabanas, has decided to assert his territorial rights. There have been public meetings in Cabanas and there are also rights of access paths. Sadly, battle lines seem to be being drawn.

We walked by the prickly pear border and the fort and met the manager from the fort. The Cabanas fort has been renovated inside and is a delightful place to stay. We were shown around and I would recommend it as a holiday. The owner has a passion for these old buildings and it has been lovingly restored and the visitor rooms are in keeping but modern. It is also a safe place inside for children to play and have adventures.

As you walk out from the fort there is a way back along the road and back to the board walk. Here there are still the signs of the changes in Cabanas. A little old and neglected traditional house is still there. And behind it are the new but unfinished and unsold developments of a garden village. A swimming pool facility and garden was also supposed to be built. The scrub land provides some opportunities for the wildlife. This is also part of the Eco bike route from Tavira. It is worth walking or cycling from Tavira to Cabanas on this route. It then goes up and back to the main road and then back down to the coast to the charming old village of Cacela Velha.
It is also possible to walk along the beach but the closed path does mean you could get cut off when the tide is high. It seems there are some resolutions in place for this ugly and divisive fence to be moved back a bit to return access to the path in front of the Cabanas fort.

It seems a pity that the coastal cliff path has been broken up by landowners wishing to fence off to the cliff edge. Further up from the fort there are some developments with portocabins and fences to the cliff edge. It is near here that I once stood for ages watching a hoopoe preen itself. The natural world has to cope with the challenges of development, irresponsible tourism, our lovely dogs unleashed also can disturb birds and other creatures too. And the rubbish we leave behind.

Could this cliff path ever become a nature trail? Could it be looked after by conservationists and respected by walkers,dog owners, cyclists? The beach below is protected but the cliff edge awaits exploitation of varying kinds.
I have just experienced a very different kind of fence at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire in the UK and a triumph for the conservation of grey seals on the mudflats of the Humber estuary.
That’s for the next post as I arise from the gloom of wintry weather and political uncertainties for the planet. I have focused a lot of time on revising my novel and the chestnut harvest from our very fruitful old trees at Navasola.

18 thoughts on “A walk around the fort at Cabanas. Unwelcome Autumn Changes.”

  1. It is such a shame when these things happen. Perhaps walkers have been behaving irresponsibly and the land-owner has got fed up? It is to be hoped that some kind of compromise can be reached. Glad to hear your novel is coming along nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not a ‘like’, this one, is it? When I started to read I assumed the changes were due to the hotel in the fort, but obviously that is not the case. It’s a while since I walked that stretch, but when we were there in October I walked from Conceicao along the bike trail back to Tavira. It was hot and I lost a very pretty pink and white shirt that was draped over my bag. If you find it.. ? 🙂 🙂 Seriously, this isn’t good news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll look out for it. No, sorry. Not good news and we thought at first it was the forts fence but it certainly isn’t. Hence need to really find out. Seems the landowner is a bit difficult but owns some hotels as well. The locals are on the case as it has been their right of way and there is some suggestion he will have to move the fence back. But it is ugly in such a lovely spot.

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  3. There is no absolute sanctuary, and the smog of the world blows a long way from its origins. Even here we can shudder at the trump-eting.We can only try in charity and compassion to resist ugliness and promote beneficial adaptation, and suffer what we cannot change. Well, that’s what Marcus Aurelius would say, but what did he know? If outright attack would be wrong, reasoned persistence might still win out. Let’s hope the fence can be moved back a bit. In the meantime, like the falling Zen monk, gaze on the birds and wild creatures, and smell the scent of the flowers (and a little nip of brandy or whisky for the winter coldness of your benighted northern hemisphere) as you gallop on your planetary steed through time and space.

    I have discovered that openlibray at archive.org has a lot of Elizabeth Goudge in PDF and I am binge reading it all again to distract me from the frenzy of the ‘festive’ season. Of course, it is of interest to historians of culture now.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so moved by the beauty of your words and the wisdom. I will take up more reading too to see me through this winter in our northern days of little light. Thanks for reading and following as you have understood my mood and your words give me some courage. I might get some brandy in too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and we also have to be very responsible about that as the natural world suffers with the onslaught of human’progress’. In Sweden there has always been freedom to roam but with a respect to not go near dwellings or crops.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, yes sharing public access seems difficult along popular coast lines. I wish some of the traditional houses were restored but many are deserted and then sold off for a block of profitable flats.


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