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In the steep hillside in Hjølmodalen, a small side valley from Øvre Eidfjord (Upper Eidfjord), which has been a key entrance to the Hardanger Plateau, the hamlet of old farmhouses still lie clustered together. The yard is empty today, some of the houses are used in the summer, but the grass grows round all the corners.
Måbø is the uppermost farm in Måbødalen. This narrow and steep mountain valley has been one of the routes from the fjord communities up to the mountain plateau from times immemorial. We are not certain of the meaning of the name Måbø. Perhaps it has its origin in an Old Norse male name Mávi, from the name for seagull, már. The last syllable “bø” means farm. Today Måbø gives us a compact close-up of the subsistence economy: the small farm with the clearance piles, stone walls and a lane that guided the animals into the yard, at the foot of the great mountain expanse.
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.
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.
When you come into the well-tended farm steading at Sæbø just above Etne centre, you get the impression of a Sunnhordland farm from well before the time of the tractor; from the time of the horse and the scythe. The hamlet at Sæbø, one of the farms neighbouring to Gjerde, was taken over by Sunnhordland Folk Museum in 1938.
The Barony of Rosendal lies in the grounds of the old noble estate of Hatteberg, on the north side of the Hatteberg river, around one kilometre up from the sea. The three noble estates Seim, Mel and Hatteberg constituted the core of the large estate taken over by Ludvig Rosenkrantz in 1662, after he was married to Karen Mowat in 1658.
The tax collector’s farm at Sørhuglo is one of the many farms for state employees in Hordaland. According to history, “Futastovo” was built by the tax collector Gram in the second half of the 17th century. In 1943 the building was moved to Sunnhordland Folk Museum.
Årskog farm is situated in a typical coastal landscape in a gentle terrain that slopes down from the outlying heaths down towards the fjord. The farm steading exists as it was in the 1800s. In 1980 the two brothers, Lars and Olai Årskog donated the farm with all its contents of tools and interior decoration, for museum purposes.
Vågsbygdo was severely hit by landslides and rock falls in the decades around 1700, in addition, the rivers transported masses of loose sediment, both large stones and gravel. A lot of what slid down from the Vågsliene (slopes at Våg) collected in Neravåge. It was so bad that the damage “never again can be remedied or restored”, it was said in 1670.