Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
All in all there are ten known copper mines and two iron mines on the Ølve peninsula. Geologically, the nine mines on Varaldsøy Island also should be figured in. The industry began at Lilledal in 1642 wth the mining of iron ore. From Jernsmauget by Dyråsen, the iron ore was sent to the iron works in eastern Norway.
Fjøsanger is known among ice age researchers from around the world. Under an excavation in 1975-77, geologists from the University of Bergen found layers from the last interglacial, ca. 115 000 to 130 000 years old.
At Hereiane on warm summer days one you can walk barefoot up the hill from the fjord all the way up to 400 metres elevation. The naked, furrowed bedrock often causes travellers who see it from the north side of the fjord to wonder. Why does it look like this, and why is there so little that grows here? It is a long way to the heavy metal industry in Ålvik and Odda, and there hasn’t been a forest fire in modern times.
When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.