Best of Wales – Major Skokholm landing improvement.
Published: Saturday 10th Apr 2010
Written by: Gareth Mahoney
Best of Wales - Skokholm island
The tiny haven of Skokholm off the Pembrokeshire coast is having improvements to its landing quay to enable visitors to view the wildlife. The island like its bigger sister Skomer four kilometres away is owned by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW). Best of Wales offer several all year round self catering holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire, all with easy access to the coastline, ideal for bird watching and walking.
The trust has received funding for most of the £38,250 cost of the project. Its conservation manager Dr Lizzie Wilberforce said the improvements will make a big difference for everyone. Skokholm is of international importance for its breeding population of seabirds, namely storm petrel and Manx shearwaters, while dolphins, seal, sunfish and porpoise play in the surrounding waters.
The island, which is roughly a mile long and half a mile wide, was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2008. It will make disembarking from the boat much more straightforward and reliable for all the islanders, be they volunteers, visitors or staff. However, the trust said there was a lack of investment in the island’s infrastructure before they bought it in 2006 and Crown Estates and RWE Npower are providing most of the funding for the landing quay.
Dr Wilberforce said: “Access to Skokholm has always been more difficult than to her sister island, Skomer. “This is partly because it was more remote and a longer journey over more open seas, but the landing point has been in need of work for many years and these improvements will make a big difference. At the moment it is difficult to disembark at the island in certain tides, and at low tide a ladder is often needed.
“It will make disembarking from the boat much more straightforward and reliable for all the islanders, be they volunteers, visitors or staff. She added: “More importantly it will help our staff get on and off the island more efficiently for all the conservation work, such as seabird surveys, and for the essential maintenance we need to do for the islands and its buildings.” Dr Wilberforce said undertaking the project would be “quite a challenge”. But she added: “Fortunately, the wildlife trust has a great deal of prior experience of undertaking projects like these on the Pembrokeshire islands, including the recent completion of the Skomer Island Heritage Project. “Many of our volunteers have also been involved with the work on Skokholm for decades, and have given much time and energy in the past to creative solutions to even the most taxing of problems.” To check out the latest availability on all holiday cottages in Wales visit the main Website, Best of Wales.