Vale das LobasBiodiversity, Health, Education
The Vision / History / Now / The Future / Biodiversity / Rural Regeneration
Vale das Lobas is a Rural Regeneration Project in the Beira Alta region of Portugal. Vale das Lobas means Valley of the She-Wolves. The last wolf was seen here in 1995 and the wolf is a symbol for re-establishing a healthy natural environment, where all are valued and cared for. Our vision is: Ecological and economic regeneration including agro-ecology, artisan crafts, natural building and natural medicine; integrating ancestral traditions with innovation; supporting biodiversity, reforestation and the sustainable use of resources; providing inspiration, education and healing. To achieve these goals, we have established zones of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, with a protocol of regeneration.
In their search to establish a Centre for Peace in Portugal, Tony Conway and Lizzie Mae Smith discovered Sobral Pichorro in 2008 and they were immediately charmed by the wide open valleys, the powerful granite outcrops and subsistence farming traditions. Since its inception, Vale das Lobas has hosted many visitors and volunteers. Together we have cleared lands, pruned trees, built raised beds, repaired buildings, planted and cared for gardens and harvested olives, grapes, walnuts and chestnuts.
Vale das Lobas is made up of three areas, with a total of 60 hectares. In the heart of the project is a 17th century manor house with 20 hectares of terraced gardens and forests. At the riverside is a 30 hectare zone with 1km of river frontage including a water mill where hydro-electricity can be generated. At 800m altitude, close to a neolithic site of Dolmen de Cortiço is a 10 hectare zone where off-grid events can be hosted. After seven years of planning and preparation, Vale das Lobas is now at the beginning of Phase II. We have planning permission approved for 30 residential houses, a restaurant, camp site, eco-shop, apothecary, yoga studio, various artisan workshops, and the restoration of O Seminario and the chapel. With an expert Portuguese team, we are now negotiating funding partnerships with various EU fund holders, and if these discussions are successful, these restorations and construction projects will be underway in 2016.
There are three areas of development within the Vale das Lobas Biodiversity Zones:
The Centre for Peace – 20 hectares of forests and landscaped gardens with O Seminario at its heart.
Artisan Village – 30 hectares of riverside lands, where eco-dwellings, a restaurant, camp-site and eco-shop will be built.
Dolmen Farm – Off-Grid Event and Gathering site, close to Dolmen de Cortiço.