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Ammarnäs

Ammarnäs is a pretty village tucked in the Swedish mountains. It lies at the confluence of the Rivers Vindelälv and Tjulå. The first settlers arrived here in the 1820s, attracted by the natural meadows in the delta. The first chapel was inaugurated in 1858, but was replaced in 1912 by the present church. The Sámi church town, with around fifteen stilted houses, lies near the church. These houses were used by the Sámi people when they came to worship at the church. Many people today visit Ammarnäs for the beautiful scenery. The two largest industries are tourism and reindeer husbandry. The village has around 200 residents.

Habitat type: mossy coniferous forest, birch heath, meadow birch forest.

 

 

Ammarnäs Delta
This is the only river delta in the mountains with working farmland. The natural meadows of the delta have been mown since the 1820s. The hay was stored in barns on the alluvial meadows and brought home for winter fodder. An alluvial meadow is naturally flooded and fertilised with sediment every year when the water level is high. ‘Vindelälvens naturbeten’ is a project that was started in 2001, to restore the natural pasture using grazing cattle. Many plants and animals benefit from mowing and grazing. Flocks of birds gather each spring in the delta while they wait for the ice to melt in the high mountains. The delta landscape offers easily-accessible bird-watching. The land around the delta is privately-owned. Respect this, and contact the land owner if you want to enter these meadows.

Habitat type: freshwater alluvial meadows on an inland delta.

 

 

River Vindelälv
Wild, striking rapids rush through Vindelfjällen. The River Vindelälv is a National River, protected from being regulated for hydro-electric power. Below its source, the small river passes the summer settlement of Gran Sámi community at Vindelkroken. It then runs through the beautiful valley of Vindelådalen, that was used by settlers on the trade routes to Norway. In the 1930s, this valley was home to one of Sweden’s most abundant bear populations. The river eventually gushes over the rapids at Vindelåforsen before reaching the Ammarnäs Delta. The River Vindelälv is an excellent river for fly-fishing.

Habitat type: (upstream from Ammarnäs) mossy birch heath, mesic shrub heath, wet shrub heath, low herb meadow, willow scrub, wet fen.

 

 

Potato Hill
Potatoes have been cultivated for more than 150 years on one of Ammarnäs’ four conical hills. Potatoes growing on the hill do not freeze as easily as those grown elsewhere. The hill’s south-facing slope and its ability to store heat provides a favourable climate and lengthens the growing season. All four hills, including the Potato Hill, were formed during the last ice age. It is believed that the material forming the hill was transported by water, and fell down a sinkhole in the ice sheet. Stones, gravel and sand form a conical hill that remained after the last remnants of ice sheet melted away. From the top of the hill there is a fine view over the delta and the village.

Habitat type: cultivated land.

 

 

Örnbo
Örnbo is a well-preserved mountain residence with a house, barn and outbuildings. It is attractively situated on a ledge protected by steep cliffs. There is no road that leads to Örnbo, and no electricity or running water, but people lived here until 1952. It is an interesting place to visit, and provides a glimpse of what life was like for settlers. A favourable climate for plants makes the trip an interesting one for botanists, and if you’re lucky you might see Siberian jay on the way. Örnbo is now owned by the state, and is managed by the County Administration.

Habitat type: open meadow

 

 

Fårkammarn Nature Reserve
Fårkammarn is a rocky ledge that feels a bit like a cave. A steep rocky cliff hangs above the ledge, providing warmth and shelter from the rain. Forest grazing sheep used to come here in bad weather. Today there are no longer any sheep at Fårkammarn, although the hill is a good site for many plants, such as baneberry and wood sorrel. The snow melts early in the spring here, and you can find plants that normally only grow further south. The County Administration manages the nature reserve.

Habitat type: meadow birch forest.

 

 

The bird-watching tower
The bird-watching tower stands on the western shore of Lake Gautsträsk, and can be reached from Highway 363. It is a large, two-storey tower with a view over the delta. The best time to visit the tower is towards the end of May, when waterfowl and waders rest and wait for the ice to melt in the mountains. There is a guest-book in the tower in which visitors usually share their bird-watching experiences from the Ammarnäs area.

Habitat type; freshwater alluvial meadow, mossy spruce forest

 

 

Vindelfjällen Naturum in Ammarnäs
Vindelfjällen Naturum Visitors’ Centre opened in summer 2004, on the premises of the hotel in Ammarnäs. The Naturum Centre houses an exhibition of the nature reserve and its geology, flora, fauna and climate. You can watch films, take part in guided tours or attend lectures. You can also buy books, maps, postcards etc. From the Naturum Centre you can embark on a hike along the Kungsleden Trail to Hemavan. In Vindelfjällen there are two Naturum Centres; in Ammarnäs and Hemavan, the gateways to the nature reserve.

Location: Ammarnäs hotel

Photo: Håkan Lundberg