Domestic animals have grazed and winter feed for these animals has been harvested in hay meadows in the outlying areas. Wood has been cut for firewood, materials and tools, turf was taken out for fires and construction, and herbs and berries have been harvested for households.

Lyngsalpan remains an important grazing area for sheep and goats in all four municipalities. Sheep are kept around the entire peninsula, with about 15,000 animals put out to pasture.

Sheep on mountain pastures. Photo: Oddrun Skjemstad

On the way down to Lyngsdalen. Photo: Tine Marie Hagelin

The forest and landscape has undergone a vegetation and grazing survey in large parts of the grazing areas in the municipality of Lyngen. The survey concluded that Lyngsalpan is one of the most valuable grazing areas in Norway. The area has an overall pasture quality that is assessed as very good – good pasture.

Sheep graze in the lowlands when they are let out in May. From June and until the sheep are gathered, the animals graze across the entire area from the edge of the beach and all the way up into the high mountains. You are therefore highly likely to encounter sheep when you visit Lyngsalpan in the summer. It is therefore extremely important that you keep your dog on a leash, and that you close gates behind you.

Lyngshest (the Lyngen Horse)

The Lyngshest, also known as the Nordlandshest (Northlands horse), is one of the three national Norwegian horse breeds with a very old origin. In terms of size, it is one of the smallest of the breeds, which also include the Dølahest and the Fjording. The horse has roots in the old North Norwegian horses that lived around Lyngenfjorden, thus giving it the name Lyngshest.

We know little about the origin of the Lyngshest, but it is quite clear that the breed comes from the east, through Russia, and perhaps all the way from Asia. Myths state that it was a branch of the horse breed Genghis Khan and his men used in the 13th – 14th centuries.

At about 130 centimetres, the Lyngshest is considered a pony. This also means that the horse was long viewed as an inferior horse breed. However, it was the size, strength, and not least, the good temperament of the horse that made it fit in so well on the small farms around Lyngenfjorden. The horse was used for farm work, and also for transportation and riding. It is well suited for horse riding and canyoning, as it has a steady foot and is sensible in difficult terrain. The size makes the horse easier to handle, while it can do the same work as a larger horse. The high quality of the horse meant that its foals were often used as a trade good at the Skibotnmarkedet market. 

Northlands horse in its right element. Photo: Ellen Helsing