The post house at Øpstad stands out in the landscape. An ochre yellow house with a loft and a white-painted house in Swiss style with ochre edgings, bears witness to a well preserved house from the 1800s, nearest neighbour to the beautiful old vicarage. In the Øpstad hamlet there was a post office for more than a hundred years, until the 1970s. Today it is possible to walk the old post road across the mountain to Strandvik, as part of “Den Stavangerske Postvei” (The post road to Stavanger).
Whoever wanders the mountain plateau will form time to time hit upon old mountain summer farms, with solid old stone sheds, half sunk into the ground; a building tradition that has roots into prehistoric times. When we have been satiated with untouched Nature, it is somewhat comforting to come upon the old mountain chalets - they represent a type of human encroachment that we not only accept, but appreciate. They arouse a feeling of recognition and are a distinct witness to how people in the rural communities have made use of even the most remote resources.
The road between Eide in Granvin and Voss is one of the oldest roads mentioned in the Middle Ages. In a diploma from 1343 from Voss regarding distribution of road works, we also find mention of the road to Angr (the Granvin fjord).
The little cowshed which lies on the fence at Kolåseidet, constructed in connection with the stone fence, has put its mark on the cultural landscape. On the border between the home fields and the forest, the cowshed is the very symbol of a simple resource management - the division between the cropland and the grazing grounds. And the way it was built has its roots far back in time.
The old hostelry centres were strategically placed with good harbours and anchoring conditions where people travelled. GODØYSUND, or Gøysundet, as it was called, was in the middle of Tysnes Parish, with easy access from the sea, also for the local population. Gøysundet is amongst the oldest hostelries in Sunnhordland.
The village at Bolstadøyri acquired its structure around the middle of the 1800s, but from the old days there has been a meeting place here; court location and trading post. The guesthouse place stems from the second half of the 17th century, and in the previous century Bolstadøyri was one of the largest rural trading posts in Nordhordland.
Stalheim is situated between Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen, in a community with the farms Sivle and Brekke. The most likely explanation of the name is “the farm by Stadall”, from “standa” (stand), probably with background in the steep Stalheimskleivi. The farm has for a long time been divided into several units. At Stalheim there has been a transport exchange from the Middle Ages and the farm has been a postal farm since 1647.
From the oldest times on record in Norway one of the most important traffic arteries between west and east Norway has passed across Bolstad – Voss – Stalheim – Gudvangen and Lærdal. The post road between Oslo and Bergen was established here 1647, but in Stalheimskleiva there was only a packhorse track right up to the 1840s. Wheeled transport and carts were in little use in the mountains in West Norway up to that time.
Right from the start the road across Haukelifjell was a road from “fjord to fjord”, from the bottom of Sørfjorden to Dalen in Telemark. The connection between Røldal-Haukelifjell was considered so important by Stortinget (Parliament) that the road construction Odda-Dalen was approved already in 1853.
The pioneering tourists in the 1830s-40s brought a momentum in the tourist traffic to the fjord and mountain country Norway. At the time Odda was a hidden Shangri-La at the bottom of Sørfjorden; the farm and the church on the green headland at the fjord. But when the steamship traffic opened the fjord landscape for tourism, in a few years Odda parish in Søndre Bergenhus County became the focal point for travellers in West Norway.