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Näsbyn and Långhed

The villages of Näsbyn and Långhed are almost joined. This, the centre of the grand building style of the Hälsingland farmers, is where we find farmhouses with up to 400 square metres of living space and as much empty space again on the upper floor and attics, buildings two and a half storeys high with mansard and hipped roofs, with nine windows on the gables and six or seven pairs of windows on the long sides of the building. And there are plenty of them.

 

Jon-Lars in Långhed  Pallars in Långhed
Jon-Lars in Långhed, with its grand porch.                 Pallars is one of the farms nominated for World
Photographs: Lars Lööv                                                       
Heritage Site status.
                                     

The biggest farms

Olof Persson, who farmed on Schols in Näsbyn, was first to build big in the area, after seeing the grand homes of industrialists and mill owners. His new farmhouse was completed in 1821. It was a radical departure from the old-fashioned traditionally-build farm cottages of his neighbours. Schols inspired people throughout the parish. The biggest farms that came to be built were Jon-Lars and Pallars in Långhed; both are now both listed buildings and World Heritage Site candidates.

 

Falun red and pastels

This was the age of sawmills, and it made its presence felt in buildings. Many of the houses were covered in wooden panelling; at the turn of the century, this was painted in pale pastel colours, further emphasising the manor house style. You can see these pastel farmhouses throughout the Voxna river valley, next to older timber houses painted red. The buildings were embellished with glazed verandas and ornamental woodwork. Fredric Bedoire writes that there are few places where you find woodwork that is as richly decorative as that in Alfta. Some big farms – Jon-Lars and Ol-Svens in Långhed are two examples – were never covered in wooden panelling and kept their plain red-painted timber.

The forest – a parish boundary

The road between the villages of Långhed and Vängsbo leads through the forest that forms the boundary between the parishes of Alfta and Ovanåker. It is marked by a boundary stone from 1927. This is an ancient road, even if some sections have been improved and changed over the years. In the upland parts, you have views of Hälsingland’s vast forest landscape and blue-toned hills. At Vinberg, there is a viewpoint where the forest encounters the valley on the other side, offering a magnificent view of the river and the agricultural landscape.

 

Text Ingalill Tengvall

 

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