Bjørkøya has been inhabited far back in history, perhaps as far back as the Bronze Age 500 BC.
The first known owner of the island was Gimsøy monastery in Skien, only in 1 665 did Bjørkøya come into private hands. Bjørkøya is 1400 acres in extent and the greatest height above sea level is 44 m.o.h. Bjørkøya was an old trading place and locals made a living by having a few cows, sometimes sheep and goats, horses and a couple of pigs next to fishing. There was also some boat building and some forestry. Production and export of natural ice started from approx. 1 880. Hans Jacob Hvalen was the owner of Bjørkøya in 1 882 and established Bjerkøen ice cream shop. A large ice pond was built at Bjergli, which stands there Today. Bjergli was originally a barracks for the workers at the ice cream shop. 11 91 6 the pond was drained and turned into cultivated land, later a pond was formed there again and vanilla lilies were planted from Siktesøya by Martha Endresen on Skogly.
Today, the pond is known as the Water Lily Pond. Herøya workers' association bought large parts of the island in 1953, and together with Bjørkøya Utvikling AS, these have been responsible for the development of the current infrastructure together with private cottage owners. A large-scale development of the island is underway, where up to 1,00 new units are planned.
In August 201 7 opened the new coastal paths on Bjørkøya, this is a collaborative project between DNT Telemark, Velforeningen på øya, Bjørkøya Utvikling and Herøya workers' association. The project is funded by Telemark County Municipality and Porsgrunn Municipality. In addition, there are many voluntary volunteer hours in connection with clearing and marking the paths. The trails take you through a varied and beautiful coastal landscape, through pleasant cottage areas, along beautiful beaches and to viewpoints.
Text from DNT Telemark
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