It has an area of one square kilometre and is known for its red sandstone cliffs, home to many seabirds. Boats sail to Skokholm from Martin’s Haven on the mainland. However, Skokholm may only be visited by prior arrangement with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Visitors can book to stay on this island in basic accommodation. The whole island is a nature reserve as is its near neighbour Skomer. The surrounding waters are a marine reserve.
This island was made famous by R. M. Lockley, a pioneering ornithologist, especially famous for his work on puffins and shearwaters, who wrote many books featuring this island, where he lived and researched for many years. It is Britain’s first established Bird Observatory. In addition to the impressive numbers of breeding seabirds, it is a good UK site for passage migrants; many rarities have been found there over the years.
Skokholm is Norse for “Wooded Island”, the Vikings who visited the Bristol Channel named it and other islands and these names persisted through to the present day.
The island was bought for £300 in 1646 by William Philipps, a barrister and it was kept in the family for the next 360 years until his descendant Mrs Osra Lloyd-Philipps (1920 – 24 March 2005) of Dale Castle died. The trustees of the estate decided to offer the island for sale with first refusal going to The Wildlife Trusts who had managed the island for the last 50 years on their behalf. After a large fundraising effort the island was successfully purchased in April 2006.
Skokham Isle – From ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Wales’ (1849)
SKOKHAM ISLE, an extra-parochial district, in the hundred of Rhôs, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (W.) from Dale. It comprises about two hundred acres, and is situated about three miles from the main land, and five miles west-by-north from St. Anne’s Point at the mouth of Milford Haven. The shore on all sides is bold, and in some parts precipitous, except for a small space on the north side, where is the landing-place. The southern portion is based on red rabstone, and the northern on limestone. It is chiefly valuable for the pasturage of sheep, and as a rabbit warren; a small turbary supplies fuel, and there is an abundance of fresh water. The channel between this island and that of Gresholm, extending in a line towards St. Anne’s lighthouse, is called the Wild Goose Race.