Västervåla is a small settlement in Fagersta Municipality in Västmanland County. Its white stone church was once the center of social and religious life in the parish. In more recent years, Västervåla is probably best known for being one of the settlements that were evacuated during the huge 2014 wildfire in Västmanland. Luckily the flames did not reach most of the inhabited area.
A Short History of Västervåla
Västervåla Parish had its origins in the Middle Ages. Its current church is from the 19th century but replaces a much older wooden church that is believed to have been built in the 15th century. The parish was active in the social and religious life of the inhabitants in the area until the Swedish Municipal Reform of 1862. This was when the parish’s operations were split between the local government of Västervåla Municipality and the church congregation. In 1952, the municipality was incorporated into Ramnäs Municipality, which in 1963 became a part of Surahammar Municipality. The area that included Västervåla was split from Surahammar in 1967 and became a part of Fagersta Town and later Fagersta Municipality. The church congregation is since 2006 a part of Västanfors-Västervåla Congregation.
The settlement and surrounding area were evacuated in 2014 when the largest wildfire in Sweden’s modern history threatened the area. The wildfire in Västmanland continued for about two weeks during the summer and a large number of firefighters and other units such as aerial firefighting aircraft.
Things to Do and See
The white stone church is the most prominent construction in the area, standing next to forests and farmland. Visitors to the area also have the possibility to explore both traditional buildings and the forest area nearby that was affected by the 2014 wildfire.
The local parish church was inaugurated in 1893. The church replaced an older wooden church from 1640, which in turn had replaced a wooden church from the 15th century. This white stone church is today a part of Västanfors-Västervåla Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.
Västervåla Hembygdsgård is the home of the local heritage society and consists of a collection of buildings from the area. Some of the buildings date back as far as the 18th century and were moved here during the second half of the 20th century. The set-up makes this into something that can be considered an open-air museum of local history.
Hälleskogsbrännan Nature Reserve
Hälleskogsbrännan Nature Reserve was established in 2015 and can be found just to the east of the settlement. The reserve covers part of the area that burned in the huge wildfire in 2014, the largest wildfire in modern Swedish history. The total area of the reserve is 6420 hectares stretching across the three municipalities of Sala, Surahammar, and Fagersta.
How to Get to Västervåla
- Flights: Stockholm Västerås Airport (VST) is 58 kilometers to the southeast.
- Car: Västervåla is along countryside roads southeast of Fagersta.
- Bus: Buses from VL connect Västervåla with the surrounding region.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 165 kilometers (2 h)
- Gothenburg – 402 kilometers (4 h 35 min)
- Malmö – 623 kilometers (6 h 26 min)
- Linköping – 222 kilometers (2 h 47 min)
- Kiruna – 1192 kilometers (14 h 8 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden