Visiting Skomer Island – Puffins & Bluebells

Skomer Island

Skomer Island – Photographers & Nature Lovers Paradise

Skomer Island is located just off the Pembrokeshire Coast, not too far away from Martins Haven.  From around April up until about October time it is busy with visitors wanting to see the beautiful wildlife that inhabits the island during those months including the wild flowers that grow on the island.  What makes the island perfect is visitors are on the island in the day, then thereafter it is very much left alone, a perfect setting where if perhaps this place was based on land, it would not be so attractive for wildlife.  This is down to the natural setting.

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The farm at Skomer Island with views of the landscape. you can also notice the patches of Bluebells in the distance.

Getting to Skomer Island

Getting to Skomer Island is not as hard as it seems.  There is some money involved though.  The best way is to travel by car to Martins Haven.  If you are a member of the National Trust then the car park nearby is free, otherwise, there will be a fee to pay.  Once the parking fees have been paid you will then need to go to Lockley Lodge, less than a minutes walk from the car park where depending on the time you turn up you may have to queue for a time to get a ticket for the boat.  Tickets cannot be bought in advance, only on the day.

The fee to get over to Skomer Island is split into two parts.  As of the time, this was written the fee for an adult is £21 in total.  When broken down a boat fee of £11 is payable on the boat whilst at the lodge, a landing fee of £10 will need to be paid.  You cannot pay for only the one fee, both will need to be paid to be able to reach Skomer Island.  If you are a member of the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales then the landing fee is free, otherwise, a ticket will still need to purchased to board the boat.  Prices for children are also reduced.

The good news from here is you do not have to pay any more fees.  All you need to do now is wait for the boat to arrive and depart at Martins Haven.  The boat, the Dale Princes, departs at three times during the course of the morning.  These times are 10 am, 11 am & 12 noon.

If the wind is coming in too strong from the north then no boats will run for the day due to the dangers it poses.  I had to travel back one time from the island when the north wind began blowing in and believe me, you will not enjoy it, and you will get very wet.

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Boarding the Dale Princess at Martins Haven for Skomer Island.

Boat Trip to Skomer Island

The boat trip on board the Dale Princess to Skomer Island is a love and hate affair.  I do not mean that in a way that the boat itself is a horrible experience but it is rather the weather that can make it a pleasant or an unpleasant experience.  As already mentioned, the north wind will most certainly cancel a trip but the weather and waves can make it a very bumpy ride and depending on where you sit, a very wet experience too with the waves splashing into the seating area.

The staff of the Dale Princess are very pleasant though and talk you through what you can see on the island, how long it takes and maybe even a joke or two as you sit patiently to waiting to reach the island.  The job of collecting the money can be testing for them as they squeeze through the tight aisle collecting your boat fee.  As expected though they do a very good job of this with minimal disruption to the visitors.

When getting closer to Skomer Island you will begin to notice that you are not too far away when you see Puffins floating on the water.  When you get even closer you will not help but notice the Puffins flying around the bay where you will land.  Depending on the tide, you land in two places at varying height but they are very close together.

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Dale Princess departing for Skomer Island. It can get a little choppy out there!

Walking around Skomer Island

Once you depart from the Dale Princess you will be met with a small brief by the volunteers who work on Skomer Island explaining what to do and what not to do on the island.  After the brief, you are free to do what you want.  The majority of people will make a run for their lives to the wick, the most popular place to see Puffins.  Otherwise, if you are interested in the bluebells and the other types of wildlife that inhabit the land then take a leisurely walk around the island.

You have around five hours to explore the island.  This is plenty if you decide to walk it including time to stop off at the farmhouse.  No food or drink will be sold on the island so please make sure you have plenty before you depart.

As already explained, there is a lot to see within that time.  According to the Skomer Island Wildlife Report 2016, there were thirty-four species of land bird that bred.  You should be guaranteed to spot something.  A link to the document is available at the end of this post.

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Loading up and moving the luggage for the visitors who are staying on Skomer Island.

Places of Interest on Skomer Island

There are a few points of interest when walking around Skomer Island.  Some are more accessible than others due to keeping damage to the island from visitors to a minimum.  I was told by a volunteer that these areas can be accessed when working on the island.  One particular area is the Neck, a small island connected to Skomer via an istmus.  This little area blooms full of bluebells during the peak period and is a beautiful site to see.

Iron Age Settlement remains also exist on the island with remains of huts outlined by stones and possible burial cairns which are probably just that as the people living on the island would have needed to bury them somewhere.  Lime Kilns also exist on the island and one can be seen as you walk from the boat up to the top of the path.

There is also the remains of the old farmhouse where the current buildings of the remaining farm buildings are today.  There are also a small number of dams around the island.  They are not very big and could have been used for water storage.  Some of these dams are not accessible to the public but you will come across one between Skomer Head and the Wick.

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Remains of a farm building near the current farm being used on Skomer Island.

Skomer Island in Pictures

Below are images I have taken around Skomer Island over the years including those lovable puffins that inhabit the island.  These are small low-resolution images including the ones above, the originals are much larger with higher quality.

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The beach at Martins Haven. This is where you depart for Skomer Island via the pathway just on the left.
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A lime kiln. This can be found just at the top of the path when departing the boat at Skomer Island.
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Harold Stone (Carreg Harold) is believed to be from the iron age. The purpose of the stone is unknown however it may have been as a kind of navigation beacon or a place to round up the herd such as cattle.
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The trig point on Skomer Island. This is located near the farmhouse and denotes the highest point on the island.
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The old farmhouse at Skomer Island. This is now a managed ruin.
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Relaxing views around the island. This area has another stone similar to Harold Stone. In the distance, you can just see the Irish Ferry coming into Pembrokeshire.
puffins,skomer island
Puffins are the main attraction on Skomer Island. These are mainly at The Wick, where you will see a large line of people armed with their cameras snapping every opportunity a Puffin gives. These Puffins are great to watch and entertain people of all ages.
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Puffin Posing.
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Puffin with Sand Eels in its mouth to feed their young.
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A close up of a Puffin, beautiful birds.
guillemots
Guillemots are also a popular site around Skomer Island. They also hang around near where you land on the boat.
razorbills
Razorbills are also popular. Plenty to be found on the island.
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Another beautiful landscape view on Skomer Island.

I would love to post more, there is so much to see on this island.  If you ever get a chance to visit, you will not be disappointed.

More Information about Skomer Island

There are many sites containing information about Skomer Island.  I have provided some useful links below for you to visit.

  • History– A PDF file with useful and detailed information
  • Welsh Wildlife Trust – Useful information about visiting Skomer Island including staying over.
  • Sailing Information – Prices & times for the Dale Princess, the boat that takes over to Skomer Island.
  • Wildlife Report – A PDF file containing the species of wildlife currently inhabiting the island.

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