The Farm

Keeping cattle at Sönneböe goes a long way back in time. The Danish place name Sønnebøe may be translated to “The Southern Enclosure”. The suffix -bøe is not present in Danish or Swedish historical sources but is relatively common in Norwegian solitary farm names and mountain farm names. The Old Norse language was divided into a western and an eastern branch during the Viking age so the Sönneböe name has probably been in use since before this event.

The oldest dry-stone walls on the farm are the remnants of two connected circular enclosures, called the Ring Enclosures, of 250 and 350 meters in diameter respectively. Stone walls forming a funnel are attached to the smaller enclosure. The Sønnebøe name probably refers to these enclosures. There is historical evidence that the site may have been used as a market place for draught animals, oxen.

The grounds have during the past couple of decades gently been restored. The old forest pastures have been cleared from spruce and unwanted beech trees so that the about 200-year-old oaks have been rescued. The cattle are required to maintain the pastures so that they do not get overgrown again. Restoration of the dry-stone walls is also taking place, a painstaking work that requires expert skills that has almost got lost today.

The place has a rich wildlife. Due to the many old deciduous trees and the abundance of dead wood, bird as well as insect species are high in number. The several kilometers of stone walls contribute to the presence of many frogs and toads. The stone walls also give shelter to many insects. A sunny late summer day thousands of solitary bees and bumblebees visiting the shamrocks can be seen on the meadows.

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