Much of the sand and gravel that the town of Etne is built on was laid down at the end of the Ice Age and is evidence of melting glaciers and roaring meltwater rivers. The uncompacted material in the big terraces leave their unmistakeable mark on the wide elongated valleys.
When the Etne water system was protected in 1994, preservation of the cultural landscape in Stordalen Valley was a a main objective. This is a valley with an exceptional abundance of Different types of plants and animals. In the grey alder forest in Stordalen there are more bird species than in most other places, in fact, denser than one tends to find in a tropical rainforest.
On the farm Bø, close to the highway between Bulken and Voss lies Byrkjehaugen, one of the largest burial mounds in West Norway. Originally it was around 50m across and 5m high, but following the excavation in 1908 and chipping off by both railway and road construction, the cross-section has shrunk to 37m and the height to 4m. All the same, it is an impressive burial monument for the passing traveller to see.
One of the oldest farms in Myrkdalen, Ulvund, is recognized as one of 14 areas in Hordaland having an especially valuable cultural landscape. The dirt road runs along a steep slope down toward Lake Myrkdalsvatnet. The flattest field, which today is harvested for silage, used to be an old grain field, while the slopes were old hayfields.
In Skånevik there are marks left from the ice edge that advanced during the thousand-year cold spell (Younger Dryas) that marked the end of the Ice Age roughly 11 500 years ago. The glacier first proceeded out into Åkra Fjordand and around Vannes and thereafter sent an arm in toward Skånevik. Here, the glacier lay down an end moraine up against the mountainside.
I Kvassdalen var det aktiv stølsdrift med mjølking av kyr og geitehald nokre år inn i vårt tusenår, og slik hadde det vore i meir enn to hundre år. Såleis har dalen ikkje fått gro til med kratt og skog, men er open og lys. Fortsett er det beiting av kyr og sauer.