Lying off Wales’ Pembrokeshire coast, Skomer is famed for its wildlife, including 50% of the world population of Manx shearwaters and southern Britain’s largest colony of Atlantic puffins.
A national nature reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, Skomer is surrounded by a marine nature reserve. The island’s large seabird population includes Manx shearwaters, guillemots, razorbills, great cormorants, black-legged kittiwakes, Atlantic puffins, European storm-petrels, common shags, Eurasian oystercatchers and various gulls, plus several birds of prey. Common toads, slow-worms, a breeding population of glow-worms and a variety of wildflowers are found in the interior; grey seals inhabit the coastline, while harbour porpoises are seen offshore.
Skomer and nearby Skokholm Island are home to some 10,000 breeding pairs of Atlantic puffins, and thus one of Britain’s most important colonies. These birds arrive in mid-April to nest in rabbit burrows; feeding on small fish and sand eels, they are often seen with a beakful of up to a dozen tiny eels. The islands are also home to an estimated 350,000 pairs of Manx shearwater and are the species’ most important breeding site.
There is one unique mammal: the Skomer vole, a subspecies of the bank vole. The lack of land-based predators means that the island’s bracken makes an ideal habitat, and in summer the population may climb as high as 20,000.
Managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the island covers an area of almost three square kilometres. Stone circles, standing stone and remains of prehistoric houses are of great archaeological interest and much of the island is a designated ancient monument. A morning boat service operates between April to October from Martin's Haven on the mainland to Skomer, a sheltered ten-minute trip.
Ideal for viewing: Atlantic puffin, Manx shearwater, short-eared owl, Skomer vole, grey seal
Where: Wales, United Kingdom
is featured in the following itinerary:
The Welsh island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast is home to one of the UK’s largest breeding colonies of Atlantic puffins and Manx shearwaters. Join award-winning photographer Bret Charman on this three-day trip to photograph these seabirds trip at the height of the breeding season.
When to go: May-Jun
Duration exc. flights: 3 days
Price exc. flights: From £495 pp
Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation is shown below.
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The old farm buildings at the heart of Skomer Island have been thoroughly refurbished to provide simple hostel-style self-catering accommodation for visitors and researchers from April through until October - an overnight stay allows guests to explore in peace after day visitors have returned to the mainland.