From The Madeira Island Web Site

Levada Walking
Madeira was made for walking
By Jorge Barbosa
Jun 5, 2008 - 10:22:12 PM

One of the defining holiday activities of Madeira is Levada walking . For most visitors to the subtropical island Levadas do not need any introduction. For many, however, it is an exciting new experience that adds an unusual twist to the common fare available at many other holiday destinations.

The Levadas are public property and can be enjoyed by most people as a course to walk along by. More importantly, the Levadas are the systems of irrigation and supplies of potable water to most of the island.

Their protection and status cannot be diminished. It is incumbent on the visitor to protect and not disturb the sensitive "lifeblood" of Madeira: to recognise the waterways as part of Madeira's agricultural infrastructure, as part of its utility as a water supply, and as part of the Madeiran tourism economy. Along with these important reminders the local government has made attempts to qualify the status of the Levadas internationally as a world wide heritage asset - a programme sponsored by the United Nations.

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