The Bestança is one of the last unspoiled rivers of Portugal. Without dams or dikes, free of plastics, rubbish and other pollutants, it runs wild from its source in Montemuro Sierra, at 1200 meters, to the Douro River near Pias, a small village. A walk through the Bestanca Valley and along the banks of the river is a thrilling ecological adventure. The tree cover of the valley consists mainly of deciduous trees, such as pedunculate oaks, sweet chestnuts, black alders, narrow-leaved ashs and common walnuts. In winter, with the deciduous trees without leaves, the landscape is a little grey, punctuated by green patches of pine trees. However, in spring, the landscape is filled with colour as soon as the leaves appear on the branches.
This photograph was captured in the first days of spring, in the early afternoon. The sun was shining in the sky. The first leaves, green, yellow, and orange, appeared on the branches of the trees and gleamed in the sunlight. The water flowed freely between the mossy granite blocks scattered along the riverbed. My feeling was of vibrant wilderness. The Bestanca River harbors a considerable biological diversity over such a small area. Above all, it must be respected, preserved and conserved.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor