Islands On The Coast Of Pembrokeshire
The Bishops and Clerks, off St Davids Head on the north coast of Pembrokeshire, are a treacherous archipelago. The North Bishop is three miles due west of St Davids Head and the South Bishop, a similar distance due west of the southern tip of Ramsey Island.
Black Scar is the name of a small rock in a group half a mile off the entrance to Solva Harbour, in St Brides Bay the others being Green Scar and The Mare.
Caldey today is a tranquil retreat for visitors who are shipped there in their hundreds from Tenby in the summer. The two mile crossing of the sound on calm days is idyllic and the island offers fine cliff walks, beautiful beaches with deep golden sand and tours of the Monastery.
Cardigan Island, which once had a thriving puffin colony, sits like a crescent at the northern tip of the Teifi Estuary where the river enters Cardigan Bay.
Gateholm is a projecting curve of rock, like a sheltering breakwater marking the northern end of Marloes Sands and sticking out like a rudimentary arm into Broad Sound, which separates the bird sanctuary islands of Skokholm and Skomer.
On clear days, people looking out over St Brides Bay can see the shark-fin shape of Grassholm to the west. Often discernible is its pied appearance: dark rock one side and white guano-covered ground on the other where the island’s huge colony of gannets are nesting.
Half a mile south west by south of Solva harbour entrance, in St Brides Bay, is the pyramid shaped rock known as Green Scar. Its name is no doubt attributable to the fact that it has a green crown of vegetation while its neighbour, Black Scar, is bare and the rocks dark.
Rugged Ramsey Island, off the St Davids peninsula, is an RSPB Reserve and was farmed right up to the 1960s. The mile wide Sound between the island and the mainland is a treacherous strip of water with a rock called The Horse, only visible at low tide.
Sheep Island is a finger-shaped rock pointing west off the extreme end of the South Pembrokeshire peninsula. It is part of the Lower Old Red Sandstone belt which stretches north-west across Milford Haven Waterway to Dale and under the sea to Skokholm, the rich red earth and rocks being the giveaway.
Celebrated in books and boasting the establishment of the first Bird Observatory in Britain, Skokholm Island is a bird sanctuary island administered by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
The best time to visit the bird sanctuary island of Skomer is in May or early June when it is a riot of colour with millions of bluebells and red campion as far as the eye can see. This is also the time when the colonies of breeding seabirds are most active.
Stack Rocks is a small island a mere 500 yards off the southern side of St Brides Bay, where the coast turns south-west towards the little beach at St Brides Haven.
The Mare is the smallest of a trio of rocks off the entrance to Solva harbour in St Brides Bay. Apart from ornamenting the beautiful coastline sweeping round the northern side of the bay, and serving as a navigational aid for mariners and fishermen sailing in and out of the narrow entrance to Solva harbour in foggy weather, it also provided a useful seasonal ‘larder’ for the locals.
The Smalls is a lonely rock 12 miles off the mainland of Pembrokeshire west of St Brides Bay, and the site of one of the wealthiest revenue-producing lighthouses in the British Isles.
One of the chain of Victorian forts built to defend Milford Haven from perceived attack by the French when Napoleon III was casting envious eyes on British territory, sits on the summit of Thorn Island which guards the southern side of the entrance to the Waterway.