There is a hidden waterfall “in” Villa Nova Milfontes – its location is a well-kept secret. It can be accessed in two ways – the first way being a long walk over farmland and, finally, down a steep hillside. Various permissions should be sought before crossing land and you have to be “in the know” as to how to get there.

The second way is to be given a key to a certain gate and be told to “follow the track” which meant we could visit by four-wheel drive car. Our neighbor and landlord has the magical key to the gate and agreed we could visit – they own the land around there. Even then it is not simple as you will find out.

We take the dirt track and cross the stream upriver from the waterfall en route – quite dry at the moment has we have had little rain for months.

We cross dirt tracks and fields looking for the gate – we nearly missed it – that does not look like a gate to me.

After we have found the well disguised gate, unlocked it, untied it, opened it, shut it, locked it again we are then faced with which track!

After driving around a dustbowl with various tracks all ending nowhere, we then found a narrow, steep, exit.

I am glad we are coming at this time of year – I would not like to drive down here in winter, or when it is wet – even in a four-wheel drive car.

After five minutes of very slow and careful and somewhat hairy descent, you arrive by the side of the stream in what appears to be the middle of someone’s garden – that is because it is – the pathway over the bridge leads to their house.

You follow the stream through their garden until the track peters out, and there is a stone built Standing where the steps down to the waterfall start, it also gives you a rest point and viewpoint up and down stream.

Looking upstream is very peaceful and they have planted just the right plants to provide an ideal backdrop for the scene.

I always like to look down as well as up with waterfalls if I can – just because!

You now have to follow stone steps down the side of the waterfall to a small mill – sadly no longer in use… you can see the mill leat that used to divert the stream and provide water to the mill which looking at the topography was an undershot wheel.

You can walk/scramble/climb around both sides of the mill and see where the “used” water exited back into the stream.

Once you walk down here, you can now see the waterfall to the side of the mill.

You have to hop over the other side of the bank to get the best view.

While you are here – you can see the start/finish of the alternative route – and the impossible scramble – the only way is up!

This beautiful bush is on the track at the top of the waterfall – I would love a bank of these.

I am so grateful to our neighbors – there is no way I would have made it up and down the goat paths. I am also grateful to them for all the work they have put in making this beautiful little spot accessible to those that ask — all at their own expense.

I hope we can visit again when the stream is running higher, faster and fuller – and I am hoping one day to be able to take a look inside the mill itself.


  1. Outstanding image essay, Nicola. What a track full of wonderful surprises. The waterfall is majestic and that mill is certainly inviting and serious. The final image of the purple flowers is magnificent!

    1. It really was a bit of an adventure – even with the key and “instructions” – goodness knows what the walking/climbing route is like!

      The waterfall is quite special and has that kind of energy that only waterfalls do. I would love to know what if anything is left of the water wheel and go behind those doors. I am told it was used in the clothing industry for a period – I would assume wool as there are a lot of sheep here – one thing I am going to follow up on.

      Mr P is on the case identifying the purple bush – we have been promised cuttings. SMILE

      1. That was definitely a lovely adventure and I’m so thrilled you took us along for the ride! The images are breathtaking and well-composed.

        Your purple flowers glow! Such imagination from nature! How could one ever ignore the call to beauty?

  2. I was very lucky to catch them just in the right light on the way back up – on the way day the light was so strong and bright – I could not have got into a position to photograph them well . For me – a lover of purple they were the icing on the cake.

  3. It is and it does indeed – we were determined to go rainbow for the handfasting – but everything we liked came back to purple – so purple it was – we did manage to get the rainbow with the the after reception party late into the evening with different types of sangria in color coded jugs and glasses and rainbow balloons and pates!

    1. You should set out each day for a week with your camera and capture all the purples that find you! You know they’re luminescent and lurking everywhere! SMILE!

      Love the handfasting and working in the rainbow. So neat!

  4. Ah Purple week – what an excellent idea ………….. that will be a fun project 🙂

    It was a challenge – it could have gone very children’s partyish ……… but we found muted rainbow table clothes that manage to give a whole adult look to the event which was a real boon.

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