What are we fundraising for?

Lighthouse in context D Milborrow

We are appealing for funds to complete the purchase and renovation of the buildings on Skokholm. This will both assist the Wildlife Trust in its important work managing the island as a nature reserve, but also allow more people to visit and experience the island and its wildlife for themselves.

In July 2010, the Wildlife Trust was contacted by Trinity House, owners of the lighthouse on the island and a significant portion of land around it. Trinity House wanted to discuss our views on the upcoming sale of the lighthouse.

Trinity House were in the process of replacing the traditional light  with a modern beacon, which needs very little maintenance and therefore allows them to consider selling the lighthouse and land around it.

The Manx shearwater colony around the lighthouse is the densest across Skokholm and Skomer. The last full island count (in 1998) showed the square hectare around the lighthouse to contain 2870 burrows.  As these two islands hold roughly 50% of the world population it is highly possible that this is the densest colony Lighthouse at duskin the world.

The area also contains the densest population of storm petrels on the two islands, as well as chough and rare lichens.  As a result of the high numbers of burrows the soil cap in this area is extremely fragile, and the Trust were worried that the lighthouse could potentially be sold to a new owner who would perhaps not understand or care about the sensitive nature of the land.

Storm Petrel by Janet Baxter

Storm petrel are also part of the qualifying feature for the SPA/SSSI and the quarry (part of which is within the lighthouse land) is once again the densest area for this species on Skokholm.   The latest estimate done by Steve Sutcliffe in 2010 are of c. 650 pairs in quarry alone.

The rocky outcrops and cliffs immediately surrounding the lighthouse are used as nesting sites for greater black-backed and herring gulls. Other breeding birds around the lighthouse compound include swallow and rock pipit, and possibly chough.  The maritime vegetation is a feature of the SSSI, as are the lichen assemblages. Much of this is located around the lighthouse; the south-west corner of Skokholm being the most exposed to high winds, salt spray and clean air which leads the rare habitat.

We are also appealing for funds to complete the renovation works already started on the main farm complex.

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