During an eventful day, Nuno embarked on two inspiring visits to different properties, each holding immense potential for regenerative design.
In the morning, Nuno had the pleasure of visiting a property in São Francisco da Serra. This visit marked the beginning of an exciting new project that is yet to be established on the land.
During the technical visit, Nuno and the clients discussed the details of the project, exploring the possibilities of starting a small-scale agricultural venture that complements the planned eco-tourism activities on the property. The main goal is to promote and accelerate the regeneration of the land while maximizing water retention and biodiversity, with a long-term vision of minimal intervention.
The property, spanning an area of 5,8 hectares, has been without any significant exploitation in recent years. It features a beautiful forested area with cork oaks and strawberry trees, as well as a small olive grove. Additionally, there are three ruins on the property, which hold potential for future development.
One of the positive elements of the land is the presence of a small watercourse that runs through it, enhancing its natural beauty and ecological value. However, the property also poses a challenge due to its steep slope, requiring careful planning and design considerations.
In terms of activities, the project aims to incorporate various regenerative practices, including rewilding, stream and river regeneration, reforestation, and ecological regeneration. The vision also includes the establishment of eco-tourism facilities, such as local accommodation, to complement the agricultural activities. Silviculture, forest management, and agro-forestry will also be key components of the project.
During the visit, they also discussed the best strategies and plans to achieve the project goals. They explored options for optimizing water retention, enhancing biodiversity, and minimizing long-term intervention. The aim is to create a harmonious balance between agriculture and eco-tourism, fostering the regeneration of the land while providing a unique and learning experience for visitors.
During the afternoon, Nuno visited another property, near Vale de Egua, also in the Santiago region. The owner expressed her interest in starting a project with Terracrua Design, but the presence of excessive vegetation, known as “matos,” was hindering the efficiency of the topography team required for the surveying process. Nuno, accompanied by an operator, assessed the land and concluded that the matos needed to be selectively shredded to allow the thriving of native vegetation. So no clear cut in this property!
The property with 36.5 Hectares, has a history of being unused since a fire in 2003. Previously, it was a “Quinta” with a horta (vegetable garden) and animals. The existing structures on the property include a few roads, ruins, and good access from the main road N120. The positive elements of the land include its good access, diverse landscape, and vegetation, with valleys filled with old Sobreiros (cork oaks) and medronhos (strawberry trees). The land benefits from good solar orientation, with the main slope facing southwest and offering a sea view. There is no noise or pollution, and the surrounding landscapes are relatively untouched.
However, there are also negative elements to consider, such as two plots of eucalyptus trees that the client plans to remove soon. The highest part of the land is exposed to wind, and the flat areas lacking natural vegetation have poor soil quality.
The goals of the project are threefold. Firstly, the client envisions creating a “middle-class” eco-community for families, with approximately 10-15 families living in self-sustained homes off the grid. This community would have a focus on food gardening, a Waldorf school, and various recreational activities such as games, herbarium, meditation, and areas for children, music, and art. Secondly, plans to establish her own residence on the property, including a house and a forest garden. Lastly, the client aims to create a retreat and healing center that is fully immersed in the surrounding nature.
Throughout both visits, Nuno’s expertise in regenerative design consultancy shone through, as he provided tailored insights and guidance to align with the unique aspirations of the clients and the specific characteristics of their land. With a steadfast commitment to the principles of regeneration and ecological integration, Nuno emphasized the importance of maximizing water retention, enhancing biodiversity, and promoting regenerative practices. These projects, with the support of Terracrua Design’s expertise, are poised to become shining examples of successful regenerative land management and ecological prosperity.