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The environment

Photo 01

The Yellow Crag

Geologically, Casal de São Simão is close to the border between the coast region where limestones prevail and the inland, mainly constituted by granites, schists and quartzites.

This way, beeing part of the Iberic Old Mountain Range, there are several quartzite outcrops that can be easily seen in the landscape around the village.

The typical example of this rocky formation is the very well known “Fragas de São Simão” (Saint Simon Crag), where the “Ribeira de Alge” (Alge stream) passes through it, giving way to a magnificent panorama, as Raul Proença, a famous Portuguese writer, described is his “Guia de Portugal” (Portugal Guide), first edited in 1927, as “one of the most beautiful places in the Country”.

Other examples of these quartzite formations, less known, but easily and closely watched by those who go through the Pedestrian Path between Ferrarias de São João and Casal de São Simão, are the “Fraga Amarela” (Yelloy Crag) and the “Fraga Vermelha” (Red Crag).

The name of these outcrops came after the colour of the lichens that cover them.

Photo 02

Casal de São Simão

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The village itself is located on the edge of a small hill, surrounded by mountains that protect it from the wind.
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In the bottom of each slope, runs a stream, Ribeira de Alge (Alge Stream) in the northern valley and Ribeira do Fato (Fato Stream) in the western one, creating some moist, mainly at the sunrise, and a music played by water and stones that can be heard in the quiet nights at Casal de São Simão.

 

Photo 03

Lousã Montain

Photo 04

Cleaning the surroundings

There are no longer much cultivated areas, except for a few small plots with fruit-trees. There are still quite a few olive trees, remembering the old days when everyone had his own olive oil. Despite all the work to keep the gardens in good order, once or twice a year, the whole village gathers to clean the fences, brushwood and blackberries around it.
Much of the forest around the village relies mostly on eucalyptus and pine trees.

However, a few groves of cork-trees and chestnut-trees can be found, being one of the good reasons to get acquainted with this so nice place. In the near (20Km away), there’s Lousã Mountain with its dense woods from where sometimes a deer or wild boars escapes and get close to the village.

 

The houses

 

 

 

 

Most of the houses are made of local stone, quartzite, which has a characteristic yellow, sometimes more grey/ white yellowish tone. Some of them keep features used in the old times such as the rock shelves on the sides of the windows, or the stones on the top of the chimneys. The chapel, mostly in the gothic style, was built in 1458. Later, in 1678, a reception hall was added to receive donations from the faithful.

 

The worship still goes on and a celebration, in the last sunday of October, takes place every year. There is a fair, where local products are sold by the farmers, such as nuts and chestnuts. Fresh fish (mainly from the local rivers) just grilled can be eaten while tasting the new wine, produced in the neighborhood.