woven poncho made from wool with beautiful grey and off white patterns and handmade fringes

The Amazing story of Portugese Wool

The amazing story of Serra da Estrela wool


The story starts with wool, with sheep that give rise to it and have shaped the valleys of the Serra da Estrela region. For the production of Burel wool, local shepherds are contracted who graze sheep outdoors on the upper plateaus, where the grass is softer. It is a circle which has been there as long as the locals can remember.

The Burel factory makes sure that that the animals are treated well and live happily, and that the shearing is done manually in order to not cause any distress to the animal.

It was 2006 when Isabel Costa and João Tomás, a Portugese couple traveled the National Park and fell in love with it. On the top of the plateau they discovered an old sanatorium and turned it into a expedition hotel. 

After the banking crisis 10 years ago the couple found their mission; to recover the local wool industry from its imminent bankruptcy and to support the local community depending on the wool culture. With love and cash it got revived, the old looms full of stories are weaving again, the project  became a source of consistency, pride and prosperity for the region. It was this what I found when we were traveling in Portugal. We agreed on doing a poncho project together. SchoolofLifeProjects is extremely proud to be able to work on its Poncho Project with people who have wool in their veins, who are proud to celebrate and sharpen their crafts and who, on top of that, live in full harmony with nature around them. 

 Last weekend that the hotels and the factory have been graced with the National Toursim award for Authentic Tourism, for the highlight and preservation of the local experience and the respect and value for its resources. 

SchoolofLifeProjects congratulates Isabel. João and their teams, in dark times like these it is a great sign of recognition of sustainable ideals and hard work. 

Three blankets made in Portugal in authentic original patterns  old picture of a house built in between rocks in the Serra da Estrela, with the family who used to live there Black and White picture of an old pousada (state hotel) in the middle of Serra da Estrela Today's shepards and their flocks maintain the national parc Serra da Estrela