Vale das Lobas means “Valley of the She-Wolves.” The wolf represents instinct and is a powerful symbol for what is needed for Nature to re-establish her balance.
There is a growing awareness that the keys to regeneration are soil quality and increasing biodiversity. In fact these two go hand in hand. As biodiversity recovers, more birds, more insects, more wild animals, more diversity of plant life, so the soil becomes ever richer in the micro-organisms that provide the basis for the health of the whole eco-system. So what should we be doing? The irony is that humans need to do less, not more. Less polluting, less needless consuming, less industrial farming, less extracting. And in response, nature will do the rest. Nature is ever abundant, the source, the mother of all. Our most pressing task is to remember how to live according to “the laws of nature” and share that teaching as widely as possible amonst our fellow humans.
At Vale das Lobas we are creating a wild paradise from marginal abandonned farm lands, we are working according to the maxim: Act locally, think globally. The aim of our hospitality businesses – in well-being, education and nature tourism is to inspire visitors to become involved in “nature recovery”. When you see and feel it for yourself, it inspires a response that comes from deep within you. This ancestral knowing cannot be argued with, it is the soul speaking, and it aligns us with the Earth, and with our purpose.
To reconnect humanity with nature through biodiversity, health and education
Our regeneration mission is to reach long-term sustainable results with a positive impact on ecology, economy and community. We recognise the importance of economic activity to ensure the viability and sustainability of the regeneration process. Our vision for regenerative farming is where food and natural resource production is developed in collaboration and not at odds with nature, integrates ancestral traditions with innovation; supports biodiversity and crucially provides inspiration, guidance and hope.
Vale das Lobas
Imagine a place with clean air, fresh water, and traditional farming, where the only sounds to disturb your meditation are the trickling of water, the buzzing of bees and the herder calling to her goats. That place is Vale das Lobas, a healing and retreat centre, camping park and restaurant, set in a valley that has been farmed by subsistence farmers since neolithic times. The hillsides are forested with olives, chestnuts, oaks, corks, hawthorns, elders, figs madronhos, apples, plums, peaches, oranges, lemons, almonds, cherries.. The river is lined with alders, walnuts and willows. Goat tracks line the hillsides, fields are marked with dry stone walls.. The elaborate terraces of the noble family seat date back perhaps to the earliest times of farming, when water from the deep mines was first extracted, as much as 30 centuries ago, and the natural elegance and ingenuity of the water engineering eludes modern minds, unaccustomed as they are to understanding how humans can craft landscapes in collaboration with the natural order. The 15 hectare chestnut forest, with its granite outcrops, is home to owls, falcons, nightjars, cuckoos, bee-eaters, ganettas, foxes, badgers, wild boar, numerous species of spiders, fungi and much more.. The marginal lands that surround the forest were abandonned in the flight of 1972, have been ravaged by fire, and now the opportunity presents itself to create an extensive biodiversity zone for rewilding, in partnership with local land owners, the local municipal councils, the hunting association, the secondary school and other stake holders.
Olive Oil: The Galega olive produces a rich, nutty oil that goes much further and has a higher nutritional value than the larger yield, thinner oils of Spain and Greece. There are many olive farms in the Beira Alta region, but production is at subsistence level, with local mills exchanging for a percentage of the yield, and no money changing hands. Over time, due to the diaspora following the dictatorship era, the remaining populations have grown older with no-one to replace them, and now the situation is critical. Our vision is to create a co-operative production, and provide a management and harvesting service to these final guardians of the old tradition, and by this means, increase production to create an international product and a viable olive enterprise.
Chestnuts: These delicious and nutritious fruits are painfully difficult to harvest, and as they typically grow on steep high elevations, many chestnut forests in Beira Alta are no longer managed and only scantily harvested. The wild boar love the chestnuts, and thrive in this environment, so these valuable eco-systems already provide a great benefit. With a little more thought, however, this abundant chestnut region could also supply some high value products for the market, as well as being a haven for flora and fauna.
Natural medicine: We will create plant based remedies from wild herbs and cultivated plants in our apothecary. One range of products that will be of immediate usefulness are the soaps, shampoos and other body products for use in hotels and sites in sensitive landscapes. Our Nature Spa and artisan Village will have reed bed systems for filtering and cleaning the grey water, and then it can be recycled for irrigation, so it is important that our visitors use only nature respecting products. Good for nature means good for you too!
Fruit Products: We are developing some exciting product ideas for sugar-free. gluten-free fruit snacks and treats, especially for children. This is part of our health mission to encourage healthy eating.
- Nature Spa will provide rest and recuperation, courses and training, and intimate conferences, with full live streaming facilities.
- Restaurant Rota 22 will serve a range of international dishes, with food from our own fields and gardens.
- Camping Park will provide yurt studions and riverside camping in the heart of nature.
- Artisan Village where you can buy a home in Vale das Lobas and live and work in this exciting project.