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Nordraheia Nature Reserve

At Nordraheia, visitors will find a diverse forested area with almost no technical encroachments. The protected area is located on the southern side of Jøsenfjorden in Hjelmeland Municipality, and stretches from the fjord up over Nordraheia towards Kaldavatnet lake. Reinsrumpa is the highest point at 693 meters above sea level. The protected area was first established in 1999 and given the name Nordstølhei Nature Reserve. In 2019, the protected area was expanded towards the east and included parts of Vormedalsheia Protected Landscape. As a result, it changed its name to Nordraheia Nature Reserve. The protected area has a combined area of 17.8 km².




Management for Setesdal Vesthei- Ryfylkeheiane
E: sfagpost@statsforvalteren.no



Mountain valley.

Background for protection and threats

The protection objective of the nature reserve is to safeguard an area that represents a specific type of nature in the form of a large, contiguous forested area consisting of particularly nutrient-poor and moist coastal pine forest. The area also has elements of old pine forests, and deciduous tees growing on richer ground including large, old pollarded ash trees. Currently, there are no major threats to the heritage values at Nordraheia.

Plant life and wildlife

The vegetation at Nordraheia consists mainly of types of vegetation that do not require a lot of nutrients. Pine and birch are the dominant species of tree, where the birch trees prefer to grow lower down the hillsides and the pine trees grow in the higher lying areas. In addition, a few rowan and aspen trees are scattered around the area. The dominating type of vegetation is blueberry forest that transitions into heather and bog bilberry pine forest in places. Down towards Jøsenfjorden, there are some small areas of deciduous forest where ash is the most common species of tree. Birds such as white-backed woodpeckers, capercaillies, eagle owls and white-tailed eagles nest at Nordraheia. There are also populations of moose and red deer.

Past use of the area

There are many cultural traces left behind from early settlement, grazing, forestry and net fishing at Nordraheia. The crofter’s farms at Gåsnes, Galgehaugen and Følekammane were active in the 19th century and are located on the hillside above Jøsenfjorden. Visitors can still see the old foundations of these farms at Gåsnes and Følekammane. The crofter’s farms at Holmen and Sandvika were located on the north side of Fundingslandsvatnet lake. There are still some pollarded ash and elm trees down by the shores of Jøsenfjorden that are evidence of locals harvesting leaves for animal fodder.

Current use

Today, Nordraheia gets very few visitors, and the majority of those that do come are there to go on hikes or to pick berries. Some of the old netting sites can be found down by Jøsenfjorden and are still in use.