Skokholm Island Appeal – a beacon for wildlife

The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales today announced plans to buy Skokholm lighthouse and the surrounding land, to fill in the last piece of the jigsaw for their ownership of this unique island.

Trinity House, the current owners of the Skokholm lighthouse, will continue to exhibit a light at the lighthouse, but technological advances mean the light will require very little maintenance. This enables the lighthouse estate, built in 1916 to guide mariners past the treacherous coastline in to Milford Haven, to be sold to the benefit of this environmentally important island.

Skokholm Lighthouse - Photo by L Wilberforce

Skokholm Lighthouse - Photo by L Wilberforce

The land around the lighthouse includes the densest colony of Manx Shearwaters across the islands of Skokholm and Skomer, the two Pembrokeshire islands managed as nature reserves by the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales. The last full island count showed this land to contain 2870 burrows. Since these two islands contain roughly 50% of the world population, it is possible that this is the densest colony in the world! The area also contains the densest population of Storm Petrels on the two islands, as well as Chough and rare lichens.

The Wildlife Trust’s Chair Professor Lynda Warren said ‘Trinity House and the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales have been excellent neighbours for many years and the importance to conservation of the land surrounding the lighthouse meant that we were naturally interested in buying this and the lighthouse itself’.

As well as protecting the wildlife of the island, the Wildlife Trust hopes to refurbish the lighthouse to provide visitor accommodation, which will add to the current facilities offered at the island farmhouse complex. This will enable more visitors to experience this unique, remote and wild island and help with our conservation work there, as well as offering visitors the chance to stay in a traditional lighthouse and to learn about its heritage.

The Wildlife Trust will continue to work in close partnership with Trinity House.
The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales is launching an appeal to raise the necessary funds for the purchase and renovation of the lighthouse, to complete the renovations of the island’s historic buildings and to maintain the surrounding land which will secure the future of this internationally important nature reserve.
For further information about the appeal, visit the Wildlife Trust website www.welshwildlife.org .

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Contact information:

Lyndsey Maiden (Communications Officer)
Office: 01656 724100
Mobile: 07799 050805
Email: l.maiden@welshwildlife.org

Sarah Kessell (Chief Executive Officer)
Office: 01656 724100
Mobile: 07966 596836
Email: s.kessell@welshwildlife.org

Images are available for use with this news release. They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited.

Notes for editors:

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.

Skokholm Island
Ronald Lockley, Naturalist and Author, leased Skokholm Island from 1928 to 1948 and set up the UK’s first Bird Observatory. He rebuilt the farm using mainly materials from the wreckage of the Alice Williams, much of which is still present in the buildings. The Pembrokeshire Bird Protection Society was set up in 1938 which became the West Wales Field Society (the fore-runner of the present Wildlife Trust) and took over the lease in 1948, with Ronal Lockley still being involved. The Wildlife Trust bought the freehold of the island in 2007, although the lighthouse and surrounding land remained outwith their ownership.

Trinity House
Trinity House is the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands, providing nearly 600 Aids to Navigation ranging from lighthouses, buoys and beacons to the latest satellite navigation technology. It is also a major maritime charity, wholly funded by its endowments, and spends around £4m each year on its charitable activities including welfare of mariners, education and training, the promotion of safety at sea, and its role as a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority.