The Heathland Centre at Lygra - next to sea

The Heathland Centre at Lygra - next to sea

The coastal heathlands have for thousands of years been the face of Europe towards the Atlantic. Today they are rapidly disappearing everywhere.

This timeless landscape is a cultural heritage from generations of fishermen-crofters and their subsistence based on coastal resources. The Heathland Centre is the only place in Europe where visitors can experience authentic managed heathlands and learn about their history and ecology.

For 5000 years, heathlands have been Europe’s cultural landscape along the Atlantic coastline - from northwest Portugal in the south to the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. These heathlands are the result of unique ecological interactions between human beings, the coastal climate, plants, and domestic animals. Modern agriculture has led to the loss of more than 80%2525 of this open landscape to cultivation or from woodland encroachment.

On the island of Lygra the heathlands are preserved through traditional land use. In 2001, UNESCO awarded the Heathland Centre the Melina Mercouri International prize for their work preserving the heathlands. In 2005 The Heathland Center received the European Union prize for cultural heritage.

Only in the marginal areas of the European heathlands - in the extreme south, west and north - are small areas of heathland still being worked by farmers according to age-old traditions. While older coastal farmers in Norway are still familiar with the traditional methods of managing these heathlands, very few young farmers have this knowledge, and this traditional way of life will soon die out completely. If we wish to maintain some heathland areas managed in the authentic way for the future, we must act now before the last generation of traditional heathland farmers dies. The Heathland Centre at Lygra is attempting to do just this.

In the Information centre present you to an exhibition on the European coastal landscapes trough 5000 years and a film on traditional heathland farming. The centre offers guided pathwalks (1,5h) in the landscape where the old norse sheep race can be seen, grazing out doors on the heather all year round. Inside the new information building there are exhibitions, film and a small restaurant serving traditional dishes. The centre is situated on the property of several farms where both modern and traditional coastal farming are shown.

Visit “lyngheiane” at Lygra – a timeless agricultural landscape of open coastal heather moors. TheLynghei Information Centre at Lygra invites you to experience this rare coastal landscape with its unique cultural history and beautiful scenery. The heather moorland is maintained by the local farming community and is ideal for active family holidays.

Walks in the Outfield:
The landscape at Lygra is very well suited for family excursions. More than 4 km of idyllic paths providing easy waking. Areas for bathing and fishing. A rowing boat is also available for hire.

Situated: 1 hr drive north of Bergen 45 min by express boat (FSF). Lygra is 50 km north of Bergen, follow E39 north and take RV 57 (Leirvåg) to Seim, follow the signs to Lyngheisenteret (The Heathland Centre).

Opening hours (Information building):
May - Sept. 2009
11.00 -15.30
Sunday 12.00-18.00
Groups and students by appointment

Film & exhibition: 40,- (a) 30,- (s, p, g) 20,- (c)

The Heathland Heritage Centre on Lygra
Ytre Lygra, 5912 Seim.
Tel.: (+47) 56 35 64 10
Fax: (+47) 56 35 64 20
The Heathland Heritage Centre on Lygra - north of  Bergen

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