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Numerous finds show that the settlement at Herdla goes back to prehistoric times, and the large estate at Herdla has enjoyed a central place in the nation’s history since High Middle Ages. As Ask, Herdla was part of the country estate Harald Hårfagre took over as he took command of the west of Norway.
The shift in the landscape is striking between the barren craggy moors north on Askøy and the green fields of Herdla, which has the county's biggest farm. The majority of Herdla, such as the island appears today, is a gift from the glacier: The glacier that advanced here over 12,000 years ago stopped at the northern tip of Askøy and took its time building up the moraine on Herdla. Since then, Herdla has been under continual transformation. The re-organisation of the loose sediment deposits continues today.
From the 1500s Hop was noble estate for the law speaker in Bergen and Gulen judicial districts. Several of the law speakers were of noble descent, such as Hans Hansen Lillienskiold and Niels Knagenhielm. The beautiful main building, still standing, was erected by the Bergen merchant Thomas Erichsen in 1793-95. He also established a magnificent garden with an 800 metres long linden avenue reaching down to the stone boathouse at Hop harbour.
“At thick of night a thundering knock on the door; the man in the house wakes up, jumps out and demands: Who cries? Yes, now you must out, the beacon shines on Høgenut. And in the same breath, every man knew that strife had hit the land.”
The prehistoric site at Årbakkasanden with menhirs and burial mounds has been visited, described and illustrated by many learned researchers through the last 350 years. All the same, we still know very little of this unique cultural monument.