Between Madalena do Mar on the south coast and Porto Moniz on the north coast, the road climbs steeply to the Paul da Serra plateau. Reaching an altitude of about 5000’ this is the largest area of flat land in Madeira. Tops are covered with low growing vegetation, particularly species of heather and broom . It is surrounded by deep and very steep river valleys with wooded sides.
It was one of few places on the island where cows could wander freely without risk of falling down a precipice. Grazing is now controlled to allow vegetation to recover.
This is one of the most important areas for rainfall which is channelled into levadas, supplying lower areas with water for irrigation.
There is a small parking area at the summit with wonderful views and down to the sea.
You can find all my pictures of Madeira “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/madeira/index.html