Highland- and abandoned farms in Selárdalur

Jeep owners now have the opportunity to drive into Selárdalur on a new fishing path to visit this remote valley and learn about the history of its former residents. All the farms have roadside markers and historical signs are at the ruins. Many of the small rivers and creeks are also marked.

The road is suitable for well-equipped 4WD vehicles. All who make their way up the valley will experience the beautiful Icelandic mountains at their best. The valley is a pearl for every highland lover, tranquil and far away from the high speed of modern society.

Selárdalur is one of the three largest valleys in Vopnafjörður. At the highest point in the valley, or "in the heath" as often is said, it was farmed for many years. Valley conditions were very harsh and only very dedicated and self-sufficient people envisioned themselves farming there.

The fact is that after the enormous 1875 eruption in Askja and the hardship years that followed, life in the heath was even more difficult than before. Many of the people gave up because poverty and other difficulties were substantial and decided to move to the United States or Canada in search of a better life.

After 1900 farms in Selárdalur were abandoned, one by one. The history of these farms is interwoven with the history of the people that emigrated to Canada and the USA. It is important to remember this part of Icelandic history because still to this day the descendants of those who left to try their luck come here every year to search for their roots in Iceland, the paths of their ancestors.

Today there is only one farm left in Selárdalur, Hróaldsstaðir. The last farm inland from Hróaldsstaðir was abandoned in 1962. Abandoned farms east of the river, outer to inner : Fossgerði, Breiðamýri, Lýtingsstaðir, Fagurhóll and Gil (Selárbakki). North of the river, inland from Hróaldsstaðir: Áslaugarstaðir, Leifsstaðir, Gömlu Leifsstaðir, Þorvaldsstaðir, Út Hamar, Fram Hamar, Mælifell, Aðalból, Fossvellir and Selsárvellir. 

 

Contact:          Tourism representative of Vopnafjörður 

Address:          Kaupvangi,  690 Vopnafjörður

Tel:                   473-1331

E-mail:             info@vopnafjardarhreppur.is

Click here to see the starting point at Hróaldsstaðir

and the finish point at Mælifell