CULTURAL LANDSCAPE AT ULVUND
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.
The hayfields are still harvested in the traditional style, without fertilizer. The harvest is in August and is carried out using a scythe. For short periods in the spring and autumn, the fields are used as pasture. In this way a rich vegetation is maintained, which can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages. Several of the species are rare in Hordaland. More of plants like yellow rattle (picture) and burnet saxifrage are recorded here than on any other farm in the county.
Another reminder of bygone days is all of the ash and elm trees that have been pollarded. Afterward, the trees developed large, heavy crowns, with many thick branches. Some trees are still pollarded. At 5-7 year intervals all of the branches get chopped, so they never are allowed to grow very thick. Metre-long branches get bound into a bundle, dried and used as animal fodder. This food is just as nutrient- rich as grass fodder, and also contains a number of other minerals. For the farm animals this is like pure health food. After a few years a number of thin branches grow out on the pollarded stumps; they look like a messy head of hair on top of the thick trunks.
The bark of the thick branches was also once used as food (shavings), and the wood as fuel. The stumps lie spread throughout the scree, along the fence and in steeply sloping hay meadows.