The Libelinha Venture is a family run project that focuses on land regeneration and reforestation to give back to mother earth for future generations by creating a sanctuary for indigenous trees and forest wildlife.
We are trying to create something that is becoming rare in this day and age. The unique opportunity to disconnect, while enjoying life by living simply surrounded by nature, in a remote enchanting forest valley.
At the same time, our focus is on creating an experience for visitors who want to take something unique from the space. Whether it is joining us on one of our wide-ranging workshop or simple holiday experiences.
We are looking forward to you joining us on this journey and helping us achieve our vision!
We are looking for volunteers who will join us for a month or more, who bring good energy to the land and community, who take pleasure in giving and are willing to get involved in a wide range of projects to help create the vision.
Our project works in line with the philosophy of permaculture, so for those of you that want to get hands-on experience on a permaculture project then this is an ideal place for you to get involved with. We also have plenty of natural building projects, so if you want to gain experience in this field then we will be more than happy to share our knowledge.
In return for accommodation and food ask for 25 hours of work spread over 5 days per week.
The day to roles that we require help with:
The Garden: We have over 70m2 of no dig vegetable and herb raised beds. Plus between 20 and 30 fruit trees. These require a few hours of love per day, tending to the plants, watering the beds and trees, de-weeding and preparing the compost piles for next season's planting and finally harvesting any crops that are ready for the kitchen.
The Kitchen: Helping with the preparation of three meals a day to feed the community. Plus keeping the drinking water stocked up from the spring.
The Forest Management: With over 10 hectares of land to manage there is always a lot to do. We need to keep the brush under the trees cleared, Prune branches that are unhealthy or create a potential fire risk. Keep the river cleared of debris making sure it is flowing. Another job that needs to be done, is the felling of eucalyptus trees. To stop the trees from growing again we need to cover the roots with plastic to stop the light getting to them.
The Natural building Projects: On the land, we always have a number of projects to achieve to move the project along to achieve our vision. These projects vary from rebuilding terrace stonewalls; building structures that we need to improve the comfort of our living arrangements or are just simply for fun.
Accommodation will be in a shared tepee or if you prefer privacy we can give a tent.
Things that you will need to bring.
Drinking Water Bottle
The vale is the heart of our land with a picturesque flowing river brook, natural pools with small waterfalls, lined with large willow and oak trees. Offering the perfect place to relax, unwind, spend time with your kids, talk with friends or simply be quite to reconnect with nature.
Living in a remote forest valley means we are only allowed to have temporary structures for accommodation so we offer Glamping. and for those of you who don’t know, Glamping is a fusion of glamour and camping, it is where nature meets modern luxury. No longer do we have to simply witness nature, we can live in it too. Without having to sacrifice any of the creature comforts.
Our Sioux Indian style tepees are set up in woodland meadows in the shade of large oak trees, on terraces that run along the side of the river. We believe that there is nothing more healing than sleeping with the sounds of the forest and river. For those who prefer something quieter, there are smaller terraces away from the river with views over the valley.
Living in a forest, means we are totally off-grid, creating the rare opportunity to disconnect from the usual connections in modern day life, allowing us the time to enjoy the natural surroundings as well as the people around us.
The drinking water comes from a spring that runs from underground, and the river supplies running water to our kitchen and showers. To heat the water we use passive solar energy during the day and a wood burning stove in the evenings.
There are compost toilets where we create humanure that is used to fertilize the new trees we plant.
For electricity, we have a small solar panel system that is available to charge small portable devices and there is a generator for when there are higher electrical demands.
The outdoor kitchen is fitted with a large wood-burning oven that can take five pizzas at a time. Drinking water is from the spring and we use as many vegetables we can from our no dig garden or we buy from the weekly farmers market in the village.
Within close walking distance of the land is more and more forest but the views from the top of the hills are very picturesque. Especially when the mist is floating just above the tree canopy.
The local village Figueiró dos Vinhos is a 45 minute walk away and offers all the amenities you would imagine from a large village.
If you want to explore the surrounding area then having a car is recommended. There is a large diversity of attractions, cultural sites and restaurants within a thirty-minute drive of the land.
Within a 10-minute drive, Figueiró dos Vinhos has a great deal with a beautiful main square and park, which has number cafes nearby. Also within the village is an art gallery as well as a chess museum. Every Saturday there is a large local market.
Within a 20 minute drive is the village of Pedrogao Grande, with the large Cabril Dam creating a large lake where you can go on boat trips, kayaking or spend your time swimming or fishing. In the village, there are also a number of nice restaurants and on Mondays is the local market day.
One of the most popular destinations during the summer is the local river swimming areas known as “Praia Fluvial”. There are two that are well worth a visit, one located in the Schist village of ‘Mosteiro’ with a local restaurant that has an especially good veal steak. The second located in the picturesque river ravine Sao Simao. Which is a great place for a picnic and if you have kids then you can go river hopping with them.
For those who are more active then there’s a number of hiking routes to follow. One of the nicest in the area is following the old road along the river Zezere below the Cabril dam. The Ponte Filipina Bridge is located and goes to a great picnic and BBQ spot overlooking the river.
These are only a few examples of what can be found in the surrounding area. More information can be found in the tourist information centre in Figueiró dos Vinhos.
If you have ever spent some time in a forest you will know how enchanting it truly is. The heart of our land with its indigenous trees, the river flowing through the middle creates a space where you can really disconnect from the fast pace of modern life and take the time to just be present in nature and allow the calmness to just flow into you.
One of the great advantages of the location of the land is the sense of being in the total wilderness. We have few neighbours, little light or sound pollution other than what we create and limited mobile coverage, which are all a rarity nowadays. With the bonus of only being minutes away from civilization.
All of the points above were what made us fall in love with the land as well as fitting into our mission of finding a plot that was raw, untouched and in need of regeneration.
Since we have purchased the land our main focus has been putting a forest management plan into place where we have been clearing and maintaining the heart of the land near the river. Creating a small no dig garden where we can grow organic vegetables and herbs. Building the compost toilet, river shower and outdoor kitchen and getting it to the stage where it is comfortable for guest to stay.
We have also been finding more about the area and we have discovered that in the early 1900s the valley was a prosperous hamlet community that grew and supplied food to the surrounding area. When the newer generation started to move to the cities the area then started to fall into decline. With the land finally being sold off by the government in the 1970s to people who then implemented eucalyptus and pine monoculture. It is our aim to return the valley into its former glory by re-wilding the forest to once again be a biodiverse ecosystem so the next generation can have a place to harvest food and live sustainably.
We look forward to you joining this journey with us to aid in achieving our vision.