The Small Islands of Pembrokeshire - Ramsey, Skomer, Grassholm, Skokholm and Caldey
Published: Saturday 9th Nov 2013
Written by: The Wales Cottage Holidays Team
Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi), a RSPB Reserve, is the largest offshore island in Wales situated just off the coast of the St David's peninsula. With cliffs up to 400 ft high, is the perfect place for breeding seabirds in spring and early summer. The Reserve is open every day from Easter to 31 October and boats cross from the Lifeboat Station at St Justinians, west of St David’s.
Skomer Island is probably the most important seabird site in southern Britain and is a National Nature Reserve. Access is via a boat service from Martin’s Haven (west of Marloes in south-west Pembrokeshire) which runs from Easter until the end of October (no landings on Mondays); there is a visitor centre on the island. The colony of Manx shearwater is possibly the largest in the world, and the puffin, storm petrel, guillemot and razorbill colonies present a significant proportion of the total of these species in Britain.
Grassholm Island is situated 8 miles off the Pembrokeshire coast to the west of Skomer. It is known for its huge colony of gannets (10% of the world population) and has been owned since 1947 by the RSPB. Boat tours are run to the island in the summer from St Justinians - there are no landings on Grassholm itself. Skokholm Island lies 2½ miles south-west of the Marloes peninsular and a similar distance south of Skomer Island and is of international importance for its breeding seabirds. Managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the island is roughly a mile in length and ½ mile across at its widest point. The dramatic windswept landscape of the island is dominated by its bird colonies; it is famed for its Manx shearwaters (probably the third largest colony in the world) and storm petrels and also supports strong colonies of puffin, as well as razorbills and guillemots.
Caldey Island is just south of Tenby and boats run to the island from Tenby Harbour from Easter to October. Caldey has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and has been home to various orders of monks since Celtic times. It is now owned by monks of the Cistercian Order, whose picturesque monastery overlooks the village green and the pretty cottages of the islanders.