Hestad rest area is situated in a protected landscape whose purpose is to preserve the landscape as a framework around the unique Hestad Chapel from 1805.
The distinctive tongue of land between the lakes of Viksdalsvatnet and Hestadfjorden, which forms the protected area, is a glacial deposit from the end of the Ice Age.
The new service building just north of the chapel is shaped like three small towers that protrude from the landscape. Old culture is continued in the new building, built in tarred wood. From the building there are two paths. One runs on an elevated ramp out on a shallow in the water. At the end there is a view of the chapel above the water, reminding the viewer of of the old times when the water was the travel route; while at the same time providing an overview of the landscape space around Hestad.
The second path runs along the water's edge, out on the tongue of land, towards Hestad Chapel. The walk has stops along the way where seating and information is available. The first stop is at the rest area, where the table tops contain texts with stories from the village.
The next stop is located along the water, and serves as a break to draw your attention to the surroundings and invite you to consider the distinctive qualities of this place.
As darkness falls, the towers will stand as lanterns in the landscape. A warm light seeps out from the gaps in the wooden cladding and light from the roof window lights up the tree crowns.
Skjervsfossen is a large nature attraction located at one of the gateways to Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger.
Wear and tear had taken its toll on the rest area and surroundings, and the waterfall was not easily accessible. A building that resembles a sturdy monolith is located by the parking facilities, where the nature walk begins. The building, which has toilet facilities and a small technical room//storeroom, has slate exterior walls. The interior is clad with plywood veneer; the wall facing the river and exterior doors are clad with galvanised sheets.
Footpaths and hikes that offer various ways to experience the waterfall have been created. Several of the footpaths have been universally designed and are easily accessible. Footpaths, steps and railings have been designed discreetly into the terrain, allowing Nature to play the lead. Skjervsfossen nature walk allows visitors to experience the waterfall in various ways and from various points. “The Edge” runs close to the edge of the waterfall, “the Shelf” and “the Lower Shelf” provide a dramatic and up-close view of the waterfall from two intermediary levels. “The Step” is located further into the landscape and connects the upper and lower levels. “The Shower” allows a close encounter with the wet element. At the beginning of the footpath that leads into the waterfall is a parking facility. Fortunen Architects has made a characteristic toilet, where the roof and walls are covered with large plates of natural stone, and with a steel door.