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    02/02/2017

    The beautiful winter landscapes of Norway

    The vast landscapes of Norway resemble something out of a fairy-tale and their rich history, magical folklore and extravagant plant life make the Norwegian wilderness one of the most wondrous places on earth.

    Norway is best known for one thing and that's its cold weather, but even when winter buries the country under a thick blanket of snow many exciting plants continue to thrive. The Fringed Pink (Dianthus superbus), that is found across Europe and northern Asia, blooms during the summer but is able to survive in cold climates and lies dormant during the Norwegian winter. The Blue Anemone (Anemone hepatica) can bloom throughout the year but tends to be dormant during the winter so make sure you keep an eye out for this beautiful flower that ranges in colour. One plant you will not struggle to spot is the Norway Spruce. Stretching up to 100 feet, this magnificent tree, also known as Picea abies, is most commonly used to decorate homes and villages during the festive season. It flourishes during the warm summer months but with a lifespan of 1000 years, you can find a Norway Spruce anytime of the year.

    The stunning landscape of Geirangerfjord in western Norway boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and when this secluded fjord is nestled under white sheets of snow it becomes even more astonishing. Once you've stepped foot in the quaint village and seen the deep blue waters of Geirangerfjord surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, you won't want to go anywhere else. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was formed by a sequence of ice ages that created deep fjords and is now a place of outstanding natural beauty that few landscapes can match.

    Spanning nearly 10,000 square kilometres across the counties of Telemark, Buskerud and Hordaland is Norway's largest national park, Hardangervidda. The park's flat landscape contains many lakes and wetlands that are rarely seen in southern Norway's mountain regions. If you're visiting in January you can guarantee Hardangervidda will be covered in snow and temperatures have been known to drop as low as -30 Degrees. The alpine park is home to Europe's largest herd of wild reindeer and due to its location above the tree line, you'll find species of plants scarcely found so far south.

    If you want to seek out some of Norway's rarest plants visit Junkerdal National Park, one of the Nordic regions last remaining wildernesses. Famed for its magnificently varied landscape that was formed during the ice age, Junkerdal provides a haven for many species of plant and is one of only three places in Norway where the white mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga paniculata) is found. You will also find the rare Arctic bellflower (Campanula uniflora), hairy lousewort (Pedicularis hirsuta), Arctic mountain heather (Cassiope tetragona) and upright lousewort (Pedicularis flammea).  

    It may not sound tempting to leave Britain's dreary weather for the colder climes of Norway, but once you step into this magical world of stunning natural beauty you won't ever want to leave. 

    Amy Hosfield / BA Film and Creative Writing

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