This historical route starts near the tile panel depicting the Battle of Roliça
The route takes you towards the 1st French position, in a small elevation to the north, to head from there to Columbeira. After you leave this village, you have the option to shorten the walk, following the PR1.1 variant alongside the Zambujeira River. Continuing the main route, you begin the ascent to the Picoto Mountains, where you can pay your respects to the tomb of Lieutenant Colonel Lake and discover the 2nd French position. From the Picoto viewpoint, you can look at the surrounding area and gather your strength to return to the route’s starting point through the rural paths and agricultural landscape geometrically designed by human activity. These paths were once crossed by hundreds of soldiers.
The Battle of Roliça was the first battle of the Peninsular War on Portuguese soil, taking place on August 17, 1808. On the morning of that day, Wellesley, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, ordered na all-out attack on the area around the village of Roliça against General Delaborde’s division. However, the army of 15,000 Anglo-Portuguese soldiers could not surround the 4,500 French troops, who withdrew orderly to the high ground of Columbeira, a much stronger defensive position.
During the afternoon, an attack like the one implemented in the morning was put in action. All brigades had to attack in a coordinated fashion for the siege manoeuvre to have the desired e ect. However, Colonel George Lake, at the head of the 29th regiment, decided to assault without waiting for the general order, an action that was not successful, leading to his own death. To rescue the regiment, the British Commander-in-Chief gave the general order to attack and his soldiers began the ascent to Columbeira.
At the risk of being surrounded, General Delaborde ordered a withdrawal, heading south towards Lisbon, thus saving most of his forces. He joined the reinforcements coming from the capital and participated in the decisive battle of Vimeiro on August 21, which put an end to the first French invasion of Portugal.
The walk is about 10 km and is expected to take about 3 hrs
Car meeting (09:00!) and start point
|Next to Cemitério de Roliça, Rua Coronel Nicolau Trante (EN 8-4)
NB. The flag on the map above shows the car meeting and walk start point.
After the walk in Roliça
- Walk leader: Alan Price