The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ Sustainable and Resilient Skomer and Skokholm Islands project has received £271,038.20 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Off the rugged Pembrokeshire coast, visitors will discover two jewels of nature: the Wildlife Trust’s Skomer and Skokholm Islands. These enchanting islands, separated by 2.5km of shimmering sea, are renowned for their exceptional biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.

Over 20,000 people visit Skomer for the day each year between April and September and around 1300-1500 stay over-night on Skomer and Skokholm in the trust’s dedicated hostels to enjoy the spectacle of a million Manx Shearwaters returning to their nest burrows after dark.

The Sustainable and Resilient Skomer and Skokholm Islands Project will be focusing on activities that protect their heritage, reduce water and fossil fuel use, improve sustainable energy resources and improve accessibility and comfort for visitors, volunteers, researchers and Trust staff.

Work to be carried out on Skomer Island includes the replacement of the solar hot water system, new windows on the south side of the library building, reducing damp and draughts, and keeping heat in! These changes will improve living and working conditions for the Trust’s hardworking island staff and researchers whilst reducing energy use.

Much of the infrastructure that needs repair or replacement on the islands has been in place since 2005, so the Trust is very grateful to Pembrokeshire Council and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund for supporting this project.

The Trust will also be upgrading Skomer’s battery storage and carrying out building repairs to islands visitor hostel accommodation. This will include a new remodelled communal visitor kitchen area allowing the space to be more user friendly for multiple groups to use. Work will be carried out later in the year, at the end of the visitor season to ensure there is no disruption to overnight guests.

Accommodation and facility improvements will reduce water use, improve accessibility and reduce the carbon footprint.

Lisa Morgan, Head of Islands and Marine at WTSWW said, “Skomer and Skokholm Islands are iconic Welsh nature reserves with an international reputation, drawing visitors from across the UK and abroad.

“On Skokholm Island, the funding will allow us to replace old batteries at our island and staff accommodation with new sealed cells are which are much more efficient and will increase our solar energy storage capacity on the island. The funding will allow us to purchase a water bowser that can be towed. This will reduce vehicle usage with the ability to move 1000 litres of drinking water between residential bases (farm and lighthouse) in one trip as opposed to the current situation when multiple journeys are required to move small 10 and 20 litre barrels.

The reduction in our energy costs will allow us to invest more income in the management of the nature reserve which has multiple designations due to its importance for biodiversity. Therefore, investment in the facility and infrastructure will ultimately lead to enhanced biodiversity.”