13.3 km – Round trip – Easy 3-5h 4.3
At the north-western end of the island, the Levada do Moinho once served several watermills, and was a ‘private’ levada for the use of those who paid to have it constructed.
This trail begins at the E.R.101 regional road, by the Ribeira da Cruz River, which separates the Porto Moniz Municipal area from the Calheta Municipal area. Walking in the opposite direction to the flow of the water you can visit one of the springs that runs into this levada. To carry on to Junqueira you will have to turn around and go in the direction in which the water flows. Be aware that you will find a number of branches going off the levada that take water to irrigation system tanks.
The Levada Grande or Levada do Moinho (Mill Levada) is known as such because along its route there were several water mills, the ruins of three of which can still be seen (Achadas Mill, Cancelas Mill and Levada Grande Mill).
This is a popular levada which means it was built at the expense of its users and only they had a right to use it. The levada irrigated the whole of the Pico Alto area, covering Fajã do Nunes, a large part of the town, Fajã do Barro, Fajã dos Barbusanos and Arrudal, and along its route use of other water from wells and springs was not permitted.
At Pico Alto there is a place known as the Anel (Ring). At this place a bore-hole was built which sent a small amount of water to two ladies who suffered from leprosy who lived there. This was intended to supply water to the ladies without their contaminating all the water in the levada. Later, making use of that bore-hole, the Anel well was built to irrigate part of the land in Pico Alto.
Popular lore has it that the last spring to be tapped was that of Madre de Água, which comes up on the side of Ponta do Pargo, in the Calheta Municipal area. At that place, when the levada was being built, the people building Levada do Moinho and those building Levada da Ponta do Pargo, causing problems in linking the spring to the levada. As the people from Porto Moniz had taken figs for their picnic, they offered some to the people from Ponta do Pargo, warning them that they shouldn’t eat the seeds as they were poisonous. So, while the Ponta do Pargo residents were distracted by separating the seeds from the figs, the Porto Moniz group built a small levada linked the Madre de Água spring to Levada do Moinho.
The trail ends at Tornadouro, in Junqueira, where the levada splits.
It should be pointed out that the bottom of some sections of the levada has been paved in order to waterproof areas from which water leaked.