After appealing since last August, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has successfully sealed their purchase of Skokholm lighthouse and its surrounding land.
The mile-long island, near Pembrokeshire, has dense a population of sea birds including colonies of Manx shearwater, storm petrels and puffins. The Wildlife Trust will now be able to preserve the land and manage it as a nature reserve for visitors.
The successful purchase of the lighthouse seals the sale of Skokholm. With plans to turn the lighthouse into accommodation, visitors will be able to see the colonies of Manx shearwater at night.
The Wildlife Trust purchased the majority of Skokholm Island in 2007 after raising £650,000. The appeal for the purchase of the lighthouse costed £250,000, which was raised through a combination of donations and major grants. Renovations of the lighthouse are expected to cost a further £100,000 to make it suitable for over-night visitors.
Speaking to the BBC, Trust chief executive Sarah Kessell said: "The rest of the island was bought in 2007, and this not only completes the last piece of the jigsaw, but it allows us to protect the population of the Manx shearwater that are on there."
Skokholm and its sister island Skomer are thought to be home to approximately 50% of the world’s population of Manx shearwater, with the densest colony around the lighthouse itself.
Further funds are still needed to complete the renovations with the aim of achieving bird observatory status for the island. See their site
for more information.
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Puffin colonies can be found on Skokholm Island.