ADŻ Red Tower Hike

Last Saturday, 4th April, ADŻ Malta Green Youth went on a hike.  The point of this hike was to go out in the Maltese countryside in order to enjoy the beautiful landscape of this area and to make people aware of the beauty and importance of our countryside.

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The hike started at the Red Tower in Mellieha, also known as Saint Agatha’s tower, which was built by the Knights of St. John.  From here we walked down to the Foresta 2000 afforestation site.  The relatively large site, covering some 300,000 square metres, was established in 2002 and several thousand native trees and shrubs were planted.  Here we observed several trees such as the Maltese national tree, the Sandarac Gum Tree, Carob trees, Cypress, Aleppo pines and more, as well as several shrubs such as the Olive-leaved Germander and Maltese Spurge, among others.

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We also noted two structures called ‘Girna’ in Maltese.  These small structures built from lose rocks were used by farmers in order to rest from the sun in summer or from bad weather in winter.  They also served as a storage place for fodder or tools.  These two structures were restored and can now be enjoyed by the public.  After a while we spotted what is though to be a old Punic tomb.

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We then continued our hike and started walking up a steep track where we observed an old pillbox which was built by the British Armed Forces during WWII.  On our way up, we also visited the old beehives which are though to be of Roman times or even older.  Although these particular beehives are not more in use, the area around the Red Tower is still known for its honey production, mainly due to the aromatic flowers and shrubs found here.

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After walking up some stairs we arrived back at the top were we were surrounded by garrigue.  This is the most common type of habitat in the Maltese Islands and is characterised by low-lying shrubs.  On our way to the old radar station we spotted some Pyramidal Orchids.  Then we arrived at the old radar station which was used by the U.S. Air force for radio traffic between their old base in Libya and the bases they had in Sicily.  However the site was largely dismantled in 1970 and currently only the ruins remain except the radar which is currently used by the Malta Maritime Authority.

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Following a short break we headed towards a cave.  On our way we crossed a footpath which was surrounded by old trapping sites which were mainly used for the capturing of Turtle Doves.  Following the visit at the cave we started heading back to the Red Tower.

Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)

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