Skokholm on the Pembrokeshire coast is a great place to watch sea birds in the summer. This beautiful nature reserve island is known for its seabirds and stunning wild flowers. Its rocky cliffs provide a great breeding habitat for 4,500 Puffins, Manx Shearwater (50% of the world population), Guillemots and Razorbills. Grey Seals are present in the waters around the island throughout the year, and can be seen basking on rocks at low water daily. There are also regular sightings of Harbour Porpoise, Common, Bottlenose and Risso's Dolphins.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and forms part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. It is also part of the Pembrokeshire Islands special area of conservation
Situated slightly further out to sea than its neighbour Skomer Island, the island sits four kilometres south west of Marloes peninsular off the south west tip of Pembrokeshire. It is roughly a mile in length and half a mile across at its widest point. It was Britain's first established Bird Observatory which is now internationally recognised for its importance to wildlife.
Its rugged landscape of Old Red sandstone cliffs rise from 21m in the north east to 48m in the south west and are frequently battered by storms. This onslaught has formed a coastline of deep bays and gullies exposing much of the underlying rock strata in a variety of red and purple hues. Surrounded by cliffs the island is a plateau sloping from south west to north east with few undulations but several rocky outcrops.
Rabbits were introduced to the island in Norman times as a source of food, and have been present ever since. Its grasslands contain many nationally rare species, and the lichens of cliffs and outcrops are of great interest. During the summer a mass of Sea Campion which can withstand the island's dry habitat, is a common sight. Campion is also a popular food for the rabbits. You may also get to see Peregrines, Buzzards, Rock Pipit, Chough and Ravens.
Near the centre of the island are a cottage and other converted farm buildings that shelter in the lee of a rocky outcrop. These provide accommodation for staff and up to 15 residential visitors or volunteers at a time. At the south eastern tip of the island is an unmanned lighthouse.
Skokholm means “wooded island” in Norse, but nowadays the only signs of woodland are indicator species like lesser celandine & bluebells. The vegetation is wind-pruned and trimmed by rabbits, but inedible plants like thrift, sea campion and golden rod provide carpets of colour in spring and early summer.
During the day, walk the island paths and what can you see:
Wildflowers such as:
Out at sea:
Visiting and Staying on Skokholm
Visitors in the past have been able to stay on the island, however currently the buildings are in a poor state of repair and a restoration project is underway to try and raise cash to be able to bring them back up to a standard that residential stays can commence again. However in the meantime while these process is taking place they are running a limited number of day trips to the island.
Day Trips. During 2010 there are 4 day trips organised, all Monday's, these are 10th May, 7th June, 5th July and 2nd August. The boat leaves Martins Haven at 9am and returns at 4.30pm. They cost £35 for adults and £10 for children under 16. You need to book in advance. See their website page for details on how to book and what you need to take with you.
To keep up to date with latest day trip dates and times keep an eye on their website.
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