THE BÁRÐARDALUR VALLEY extends about 45 kilometers from north to south and is bisected by Skjálfandafljót (Trembling River), which originates in the Vatnajökull glacier and contains some of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, such as Goðafoss, Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafossar. The valley has been inhabited since the earliest settlement of Iceland. Ancient settlements are known to have existed deep in this wilderness along the Skjálfandafljót and to the north along Fljótsheiði heath, east of the valley, the remains of numerous nineteenth-century heathland settlements are to be found.

Down in the valley is a flourishing settlement with an extensive cultural history reflecting, from the time of its earliest records, the unending struggles of local people with the forces of nature. The ‘frontier’ location gives the place an extraordinary power to challenge one’s understanding of human history as a continuous dialogue between people and nature. A slow decline in agriculture has gradually depleted the valley community, leaving only a few working dairy and sheep farms today.

Svartárkot Nature-Culture Svartárkot, 645 Fosshóli

+354 844 8645 – vidar@svartarkot.is

+354 895 4742 – gudrunhlini@gmail.com

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