Unique flora and fauna

Langøya has a unique flora and fauna. The old limestone quarries are now being rehabilitated and the areas are being returned to natural landscapes.

NOAH has operated the treatment facility on Langøya for over 30 years. The northern part of the landfill area is nearing capacity, with significant portions already reclaimed as recreational areas accessible to the public. The southern part of the island will also be restored to recreational use in the coming years.

We emphasize that Langøya’s restoration should bring joy to the residents of Holmestrand and other visitors. Before commencement of closure activities in the north, the old recreational areas in both the north and south of the island were freely accessible. These two recreational areas together cover approximately 50 acres, with access facilitated via two smaller piers/jetties, and we’ve established fishing spots accessible to people with disabilities.

By governmental requirements, we are mandated to establish a top cover that meets the need for environmentally secure closure. At the same time, we aim to recreate “the island’s natural vegetation and ecology to the extent that is feasible and environmentally sound.”

However, fulfilling the requirements of the permit alone is not enough to make Langøya the attraction that we, the municipality, and its residents desire. Therefore, we have chosen to elevate our ambitions for the closure and accessibility.

In developing plans for the design and post-use of the landfill areas, we invested significant resources, together with external experts, to find a terrain design that best restores the island’s original profile without compromising environmental requirements. The top sealing is robustly designed to withstand the stresses of weather, wind, and climate change in a long-term perspective. Additionally, in landscape design, functionality and aesthetics are emphasized. The use of local materials in the top layer encourages natural revegetation with native species. In recent years, we have conducted extensive weeding of unwanted species on restored areas each summer to promote desired revegetation, yielding good results.

In the north, we have built a network of trails to facilitate public access while reducing the impact on vegetation outside these trails. Pathways are designed according to the principles of universal design without challenging gradients, allowing people of all walks of life to explore and enjoy Langøya’s geological and natural wonders.

The island’s geology is part of the Oslo field, with limestone containing many fossils. This became evident after clearing the shoreline west of the restored areas. Additionally, there are geologically interesting fault zones. In the north, we have chosen to preserve parts of the rock face towards the east. Protruding rocks are secured, allowing safe access to examine the interesting geology up close.

Before opening the first areas to the public in 2017, we built “Tordenskjold’s House” at the urging of the historical society. The gunpowder house is prominently located in the central north and serves as an attractive viewpoint. Subsequently, we acquired and placed sculptures symbolizing life and industrial development on Langøya from a historical perspective. We have also initiated a planning process with the municipality to establish a guest harbor, which will improve accessibility.

We will continue our work to restore Langøya for public use while ensuring that the island’s unique geology and flora are accessible. Concurrently, we aim to ensure that Langøya’s industrial history is not forgotten.