The farms in Modalen are situated on old, fertile sediment beds from the river or the sea – between Mofjorden and Steinslandvatnet. As far back as the Middle Ages Mo has been a church location for the valley and the farms above.
In one of the frame-built haysheds at Nottveit, at holding No. 3, we discover that several of the staves have a medieval look, with large dimensions and carefully rounded edges. According to tradition, it was the farms Nottveit and Mostraumen that supplied the timber for the stave church at Mo, and it is not unlikely that these farms received the old timber in return when the new church was erected there in 1593.
Tthe Otterstad farms lie in the innermost part of Mofjorden, on the northwest side of the river. The row of stave-built boatsheds that belong to the farm were probably constructed a little after the middle of the 1800s. Both here and on the Mo side, the boatsheds were important storage places at the seashore; wood and other farm products intended for the town; corn and merchandise in return.
The large mountain area between Modalen, the Voss communities and Sogn is one of the finest mountain pasture areas in West Norway. In older times this area was called Steinslandsheimen, in our times it has acquired the name Stølsheimen. Power development and protection interests have been opposed here. The core area of Stølsheimen has now been protected as a landscape protection area, while some of the oldest mountain farms have been flooded. A register in the 1970s comprised almost 40 mountain farm settlements in the central area of Stølsheimen, belonging to Modalen, Høyanger and Vik municipalities.
Einstapevoll (from einstape: “bregne” (fern)) lies on the west side of the Tittelsnes peninsula. Up to 1831 the farm was a vicarage belonging to Stord parish. The priests had leasing rights. Land rent and other fees from the farm was part of their salaries.
“Fartein Valen is the key figure within newer Norwegian music. Not by way of being more popular than other younger composers, but because he aims at things higher, which he is fully confident of being able to reach since he commands all techniques. But there is a price to pay for reaching above the ordinary, and there is a price to pay for demanding more than the ordinary from the listeners. This is something Valen has experienced”.
The single unit farm without a road to it, Haugsbø, is situated on the east side of the Tittelsnes peninsula facing Ålfjorden. As far back as the Middle Ages the farm has probably belonged to Stord Parish, up to the 1800s. In 1590 it was thought to be abandoned, but in 1601 Mickel Hougsbøe paid a tithe on the farm.
In the Islandic Landnåmabok there is a story that the explorer Floke Vilgjerdsson built a cairn “where meetest Hordaland and Rogaland” and the cairn was named Flokavarði. Tormod Torfæus wrote in Historia Norvegica (1711) that this name was still in use, but that the farmers used “Ryvarden” for the same place.
For almost three thousand years Tjernagelshaugen (the Tjernagel cairn) has lain as a landmark at the Bømlo fjord. The poet Torarin mentions the cairn in his account of Knut the Mighty, who in the year of 1028 sailed from Denmark to Nidaros: “And in front of the old cairn at Tjernagel sailed soldiers sharp with peace”.