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The seasonal mountain farm valleys

The cultural landscape makes the valleys surrounding Forollhogna unique. Nature is rich and diverse. Here you will find one of the most active farming communities in Norway. Seasonal mountain farming with haymaking and pasturing to harvest nature’s resources has shaped this landscape with its special nature- and cultural values.




Nasjonalparkstyret for Forollhogna
Postboks 2600
7734 Steinkjer

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Photo: Jan Egil Jægersborg

Photo: Marketmap

Photo: Eirway

Vibrant valleys

Within the protected areas there are ca. 320 seasonal mountain farms. Most are located in Budalen, Vangrøftdalen, Kjurrudalen and Øyungen Protected Landscape Areas. The traditional seasonal mountain farming is heavily reduced, but there are many still producing milk and having large herds of livestock grazing uncultivated land in the valleys surrounding Forollhogna National Park.

The majority are found in Vangrøftdalen in the municipality of Os. No other protected area in Norway has more active seasonal mountain farming. In these areas the standard of the roads allows for large vehicles to transport livestock and collect the milk to the dairies.

Photo: SNO/ Berit Broen

Livestock shape the landscape

Traditionally the livestock was goats and milking cows, but other cattle and sheep are also grazing in the valleys. Through the ages they have shaped the area’s cultural landscape. Pasturing is necessary to preserve this and the variety of species who thrive here.

Meeting livestock adds an extra dimension to experiencing the nature but show consideration. Keep gates closed and stay away from the cattle. Learn more here.

The meadow birch forest

The rich meadow birch forest is one of the most special nature types in the valleys surrounding Forollhogna. The birches grow in nutritious soil dominated by ferns, herbs, and grasses.

. They thrive in the valleys and the lower parts of the mountain sides and are also a shaped by the seasonal mountain farming. Livestock keep the forest from growing too dense, assuring that the vegetation on the ground gets enough light. A variety of species thrive here. You can also find several traces of human activity, such as remnants of outbuildings and huts, pitfalls, old tracks, and trails.


Rich vegetation and diversity of species

“A heaven for botanists!”, is often said of the valleys surrounding Forollhogna. Many of the species and biotopes found here are endangered nationally and internationally. They are often linked to generations of haymaking and pasturing. Rare mushrooms and nature types such as special fens that are characteristic for the old haying fields. There are also large areas of minerotrophic fens. Here, you can find many beautiful orchids that burst with colour when blooming. This cultural landscape is also important for insects and birds. The greatest diversity of species is often found in the transition between the seasonal mountain farms and the uncultivated land.

Lyst til å lære mer om utmarksslått? Learn more here.

Seasonal mountain farming

There are ca. 1700 buildings registered within the protected areas of Forollhogna. Most of them are connected to the seasonal mountain farming. Huts, barns, animal sheds and boathouses. Some originate from the 1600s and 1700s. Today many are used for recreation.

The buildings are culturally valuable and constitute a complete seasonal mountain farming environment. Inside some of the huts the original interior is retained. Entering is a time travel back into the past.

You will also see newer buildings adapted for modern farming.

Seasonal mountain farming
Nigiritella nigra - the black vanilla orchid

Nigiritella nigra – the black vanilla orchid

This is a rare and highly endangered orchid. It grows in pasturelands, haying fields and on the edges of fens. The black vanilla orchid is 10-20 cm high and flowers in June-July. For the orchids to thrive, vegetation must be kept down buy haymaking or pasturing. Ideally, there should be no grazing until after the flowering.

They grow in Mid-Norway between Røros and Oppdal. There are also some found in the county of Troms. In Forollhogna these orchids thrive several places in the municipalities of Tynset, Tolga and Os. Most of them grow within the protected areas in Vangrøftdalen.

Keep in mind that picking or destroying the black vanilla orchid is prohibited. They are protected by a special law for prioritized species.

“Selected Cultural Landscapes in Agriculture”

Ca. 50 areas in Norway have this special status. These are areas where you can see the results of the interplay between generations of human use of nature and the environmental values caused by this. These values are both cultural and biological. They are sources of knowledge of- and gives us the experience of our mutual natural- and cultural heritage.

Two of these selected landscapes are found within the protected areas in Forollhogna: Cultural landscape in Budalen in Midtre Gauldal kommune og Vangrøftdalen and Kjurrudalen in Os municipality.