Interesting facts 

How the farmers’ lived at the mountain slope

The Alpine agriculture is characterized by the use of meadows and fields at various altitudes and thus also in different vegetation zones. Due to its altitude of 1‘560 m a.s.l. Bellwald experiences a two gradations use of alpine pastures and home goods.

Grassy meadows and arable land are in the vicinity of the permanent housing. A great number of feeding barns, in groups or isolated, were built on the meadows shape – next to clustered settlements – Bellwald's historic image. The scattered localisation of the plots made the hay transport to the village quite difficult: Instead of bringing the hay to the cattle, the cattle were brought to the hay.

The summer pastures on the alps are situated above the timber line at around 2000 m a.s.l. The cattle's breeding success depended almost exclusively on the size and productivity of the alpine meadows; the use of the pastures during the summer was complementary to the winter feeding and meant 2 to 3 months food independence. During this period the meadows around the village could be cut and the hay stored for winter time. The summer pastures were (and still are) in cooperative ownership. The alpine farms had their own staff to tend, milk the cattle and produce cheese. In Bellwald the original form of alpine dairy farming was the individual farming, each farm tending its own cattle and producing its own cheese. On the Stafel Richinen arose therefore in 1969 an alpine village with 34 buildings, including 5 cabins, 28 barns, and a chapel consecrated to “Maria zum Schnee”.