If you enjoy walking, you will be spellbound by the unique experience of walks alongside Madeira Levadas which penetrate virtually every part of the mountainous terrain of Madeira. The paths are accompanied by a vital element; water and an ancient Forest from the tertiary era. “Levada” is a Portuguese word derived from the word “levar” – which means to carry and is defined as mini-canal. The mini-canals are irrigation systems developed to distribute water from the rainfall heavy and wet regions on the north of Madeira to the fertile lower region of the drier south. The Levadas are an ingenious irrigation system that was developed in the 16th century. They are not unique to Madeira, but are unique here in their accessibility and extent. By the early 1900s there were about 200 of these ‘levadas’ meandering over about 1000 km . Nowadays, there are around 1400 km of Levadas here. Although the Levadas were constructed primarily for agricultural use they are just as important for tourists and local people who want to enjoy outdoor activities. The Llevadas are public property and can be enjoyed by everybody as a course to walk alng by.