Field Study Center

Sobreda, Portugal

Pure nature in the city - 15 minutes from Lisbon!


Field Study Center

The Quinta de São Pedro is an estate of 4 hectares on the Setúbal peninsula, located 12 km south of Lisbon and 5 km from the Atlantic coast.

The Quinta is a Study Center mostly for Botanists and Zoologists which was established in 1960 to provide facilities for visiting scientists wishing to carry out their own field-work, and for students studying natural sciences.

At the heart of the complex lie the modern farmhouse and working buildings around a central square.

The original farmhouse has two beautiful communal areas with vaulted ceilings in the Alentejan tradition; here you can relax with a drink or hold more intimate discussion sessions.

A spacious hall seating over 100 people provides a flexible space for talks, dining or concerts. Two lecture /seminar rooms are equipped with blackboard, overhead and slide projectors. There is a science library with sections on local flora and fauna and the analysis of ecological data. Part of the old house (the winery) has been converted into a dedicated laboratory and is available for visiting scientists. A large terrace room is also ideal as a dining or meeting room. There is a large outdoor tiled games board where you can enjoy a game of giant chess or draughts or you can challenge each other to a game of table tennis, badminton or table soccer.



Ecology within the Quinta

The real strength of the Quinta lies in the wealth of natural resources on site or nearby. Students of botany, zoology and geography will appreciate the Centre is located in a zone between the Atlantic climate of NW Europe and the Mediterranean climate to the South. That, and other influences (such as the River Tagus) result in an exceptional diversity of habitats.

The walled Quinta estate covers over 10 acres (4 hectares) and includes various soil types (clay, loam, coarse sand and gravel) supporting areas of macchia and garrigue, pine, eucalyptus and acacia groves, as well as dry and marshy meadows. Flowering annuals and perennials attract a rich diversity of insects, which in turn support reptiles, birds and small mammals.



Local Areas

Nearby are extensive sand dunes, and mature and regenerating pine forests, all in protected parks. Within an hour's drive is the Serra da Arrábida - a mountainous region of climax macchia. Close by is the fossil reef at Costa da Caparica - an escarpment packed with fish and invertebrate fossils. Students of human geography may be interested in the impact of tourism on this coastline.

The Quinta offers you the facilities and accommodation, but you must bring your own teaching staff or group leaders.


Letters of recommendation

For more detailed information of what you can do here with your group, please feel free to read some of our short letters of recommendation from the Universities:

University of Nottingham, Dr. Tom Reader
University of Nottingham, Dr. Francis Gilbert
University of Cambridge, Prof. Howard Griffiths




What should we bring for Biology Field Courses?

Students in the dormitories need to bring a sleeping bag and a towel. Additionally you can rent sleeping bags from the Quinta.
We suggest you pack a mixture of warm and light clothing, sensible footwear and a waterproof jacket.
Anyone planning to spend time on the beach should bring an extra towel.


Equipment Available at the Quinta for study trips:

  • Overhead projector
  • Slide projector
  • Screen
  • 8 binocular microscopes and lamps
  • 1 dark field microscope
  • 1 drying ovens
  • 2 heated pads
  • Numerous British to European international adaptors
  • 4 quadrats
  • 2 'butterfly' nets and mosquito netting for catching insects when tree beating
  • 1 moth trap
  • 1 precision balance
  • 50m and 20m tapes
  • Some Longworth traps
  • Numerous plastic aquaria and plastic containers large and small with mesh lids

Some universities drive a van to the Quinta each year but this is not necessary. Other groups parcel out equipment to students prior to departure, they then pack the items with their belongings.



If you require chemicals, ask us, if we can get them for you. We do have links with the nearby university. Otherwise you must bring them with you, in which case safety may be an issue (both for your safety officers and airlines).


Checklist of items you may need to bring:

(example list provided by Nottingham University Genetics Department)

  • Digital thermometers
  • Light meter
  • Fly-papers
  • Enamel paints
  • Bee tags
  • Transparencies for OHP
  • A4 and Graph paper
  • Marker pens (assorted colours)
  • Tippex
  • Parcel string and garden twine
  • Sellotape and masking tape
  • Tally counters
  • Petri dishes (large and regular sizes)
  • Sandwich boxes and lids
  • Small and medium plastic bags
  • Small and large black bags
  • Paint brushes
  • White and coloured chalk
  • Reference books
  • Plastic cups
  • Butterfly nets
  • Laptops
  • Computer software manuals and application discs
  • Floppy discs
  • Disposable gloves
  • Stop watches
  • Filter papers
  • Course questionnaire
  • Insurance documents
  • Local road maps
  • Lecture notes and overheads
  • Photographs of students
  • Folders, notebooks, mark sheet



Naturasolta Lda.

Rua do Movimento das Forças Armadas
2815-786 Sobreda

Benjamin Richter, Director


Tel.: +351 91 665 24 24

VAT ID: PT510423205