The Montejunto mountain range is located in the heart of the West, 50 km northeast of Lisbon, midway between the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean, located in the extreme south of Cadaval and north of Alenquer, Majestic and breathtaking rises the Mountain of Montejunto, a tranquil place, ideal for escaping the city and with much to discover.
Montejunto: a mountain range in the heart of the west...
“Two and a half minutes from Alanquer against the North rises the mountain that today they will call Monte together. The greatest antiquity called it Sacro Monte, and also Monte tagro… We could name it by a single stone hill, or one stone, before the mountains. ”(Frei Luis de Sousa, 17th century)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION AND FRAMEWORK
Montejunto Mountain is located in the heart of the West Region, about 50 kilometers to the northeast of Lisbon and roughly halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Tagus River. Belonging entirely to the district of Lisbon, it is administratively divided between the municipality of Cadaval and Alenquer, however, it is the municipality of Cadaval that belongs to the largest territorial area of the mountains. This limestone massif, partly eroded by the erosive action of saline winds coming from the ocean, constitutes the southern boundary of the “Estremenho Limestone Massif”.
Its powerful arched silhouette polarizes the entire arched landscape and powerful polarizes the entire surrounding landscape from far away. It is the highest natural viewpoint of the West region with its 666 meters altitude. From here one can see, on clear days, horizons so vast that to the north they reach the Berlengas Islands, Cabo Carvoeiro and Sítio da Nazaré, to the south one can see the jagged ridges of the Serra de Sintra and the plains of Montemor, to the east. wetlands until very close to Santarém.
Its line of ridges establishes a natural border between differentiated climatic zones. To the northwest, the moist and cold air masses from the Atlantic Ocean provide dense mist around the main bollards; In the southeast with a greater sun exposure and sheltered from the winds the climate is drier and warmer. Also the relief contrasts between the gentle hills to the northwest and west, the most powerful elevations to the south and southwest and the immense plains of the Tagus Valley to the southeast. Likewise this border is felt in the vegetation and culture of the people who live in around you.
The Montejunto mountain range is part of the so-called Montejunto-Estrala Mountain System, a climatic boundary between the north and south of the country. Being located about twenty kilometers from the Atlantic coast, with NE-SW orientation, it acts as an important natural barrier, a curtain of altitude, to the progression of maritime air masses, so we can observe very different climatic conditions in its two main slopes. . The NNW slope, facing the sea, suffers the direct and intense action of the wetter and colder ocean winds, with evident consequences on water circulation, vegetation cover and even the surface morphology itself. The SSE slope, with greater sun exposure and protected from the sea winds, is warmer and drier, which causes a sparser and lower ground cover.
In general, calcareous regions are characterized by an absence of permanent watercourses. Although the Serra de Montejunto has annual precipitation averages of up to 1000 mm / year, on the NNW slope, the waters run rapidly down the slopes, or seep through the numerous fractures and crevices of limestone, down to deep water table, allowing the temporary appearance of an incipient underground circulation in the more superficial layers. Thus, the mountain works simultaneously as a center of hydrographic dispersion of this region and as a recharge zone of Vila Verde dos Francos and Matacães aquifers.
PROTECTED LANDSCAPE REGIONAL
By Regulatory Decree No. 11/99 of July 22, the Serra de Montejunto Protected Landscape was created as a Regional Protected Area. With the creation of this Protected Area, it is intended to provide a more balanced enjoyment, firstly by local populations, promoting the promotion of traditional activities, and also attracting visitors to the practice of outdoor recreation and leisure, with respect for the natural and heritage values that exist in this area.
GEOLOGY: IN THE KINGDOM OF CALCARIES
The Serra de Montejunto belongs to a characteristic structural unit “Estremenho Limestone Massif”. This massif, geographically discontinuous with NE-SW orientation, encompasses the mountains of Sicó, Alvaiázere and Porto de Mós Massif, the Serra de Montejunto extending to the southwest on the border between the western border and the Tagus basin. From the geological point of view, the mountain range is predominantly composed of limestone rocks, presenting typical surface shapes, from which stand out the deep and rugged valleys along with some small plateaus and depressions, as well as the imposing fragas, cliffs and cliffs. Acting as a large “receiving and absorbing sponge” for rainwater seeping through the numerous cracks and faults, an appreciable array of caves and algars of varying size and shape have formed in its subsoil.
BIODIVERSITY ISLAND: FLORA AND FAUNA
Rising abruptly between the coast and the Tagus vali, the Montejunto mountain range stands out from the surrounding landscape, not only by the altitude it reaches, but also by its natural features. Located in the West region, it emerges as one of the last refuges for many animals and plants. Constituting a privileged natural space, here we can find a considerable diversity of plants and animals, assuming the birds a particular importance. About 75 species nest here, 10 of which are considered threatened by the Portuguese Red Book of Vertebrates. The Perdigueira Eagle Hieraeetus fasciatus, the Eagle Owl Bubo bubo and the Kingfisher Apus melba are even considered rare nationally. We can still find a considerable floristic diversity when compared to the surrounding region. About 400 plant species have already been identified, which constitutes about 15% of the flora of mainland Portugal. Among these are some national endemisms of conservation interest.
Source: Natural Route - Serra de Montejunto Pedagogical Guide, 2000: 4-18