The Freita Mountain is, together with the Arada (1057 meters) and Arestal (830 meters) Mountains, part of the Gralheira Massif. Some of its peaks exceed 1,000 meters height, housing rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The vegetation is predominantly composed of heather and gorse and, in hillside areas, of pines, oaks, strawberry trees and holly. Along with the Caima River, there are many streams, that flow into the Paiva and Arda Rivers, that are born in this mountain. In its vast extension there are 17 of the 41 Arouca Geopark geosites, as Frecha da Mizarela and “Parideiras” Stones. Despite being an area with a lot of tourist influx in the summer months, it is still considered one of the best areas of the north coast to observe mountain birds.
The Arada Mountain is 20 km long and 15 km wide, reaching its maximum altitude of 1,057 meters in S. Pedro do Sul. It serves, also, to divide the basins of the Vouga and Paiva Rivers. It is a region of great contrasts, of rugged and imposing relief. The austere plateau, where only creeping weeds grow, is counterbalanced by the deep valleys carpeted with thick woods, through which rebel and tumultuous rivers run.
Total classified area: 28 659ha
Classified area in the territory: 28.659ha (100%)
Covered municipalities: Arouca, S. Pedro do Sul e Vale de Cambra
Priority fauna: Iberian wolf.
Gold-striped salamander, iberian emerald lizard, pyrenean desman, european otter, common midwife toad, natterjack toad, iberian painted frog, iberian frog, perez’s frog; greater horseshoe bat, iesser horseshoe bat, daubenton’s bat, natterer’s bat, stag beetle, northern straight-mouth nase, ray-finned fish.
Festuca summilusitana, cyclamen-flowered daffodil, chain fern, anarrhinum longipedicellatum, murbeckiella sousae, petticoat daffodil, angel’s tears,butcher’s-broom, teucrium salviastrum, thymelaea broterana, peats, common alder, english oak, pyrenean oak, common holly.
Erica ciliaris and Erica tetralix temperate Atlantic wet heaths, laurus nobilis arborescent thickets, nardus grasslands, rich in species and in siliceous substrates from the mountain areas, alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior alluvial forests.