Stunning Island Nature Reserve Opens For Season

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Once again Looe Island Nature Reserve is taking bookings for their ever popular Guided Walks. So now is the time to book your place to visit Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s stunning Island Nature Reserve, just off the coast at Looe. It all begins with the joy of a boat trip, followed by a fascinating guided tour with the warden around the island which, with its various habitats, provides a quiet haven for wildlife.

Visits to this amazing place start with a boat trip from Looe’s bustling fishing harbour. Once on the island the resident Cornwall Wildlife Trust warden will tell visitors all about the fascinating nature and history of the island. You’ll learn the intriguing story of how the Atkins sisters bought the island in the 1960s and later bequeathed it to Cornwall Wildlife Trust. You’ll be escorted around the island at the start of your visit, then there’s chance to independently explore the island or join the warden for a slide show in the charming Jetty Cottage - the whole trip lasting around 3½ hours.

The wardens will help you learn how the island nature reserve is home to many nesting sea birds such as cormorants, shags, fulmars and oystercatchers. It has the largest breeding colony in Cornwall of the majestic great black-backed gull, which has a huge wing span of around 1.5m! The breeding colonies and displays of wildlife flowers along the dramatic coastline offer wonderful views. The island is also home to Britain's largest mammal - grey seals. With adult seals of around 2.5m long and weighing over 250kg, watching one freely moving around the island’s waters is an unforgettable wildlife experience.

The guided walk also takes in the self-sufficiency fruit and vegetables plots. The gardens are managed with wildlife in mind and it is here that you are likely to see one of around 17 butterflies that are regularly recorded on the island. Meanwhile the warden will explain just how the island is run without services such as mains water, electricity from the grid and shops!

Dates this year are:

• Saturday 8th and Sunday 23rd April
• Monday 8th May
• Wednesday 7th June
• Friday 7th and Saturday 22nd July
• Monday 4th September
• Tuesday 3rd October

In addition there are two speciality walks, each guided by local experts:

• Sunday July 3rd, Birds of Looe Island (binocular’s a must!) with Derek Spooner
• Thursday September 15th, History of Looe Island with Mark Camp.

Callum Deveney, Head of Nature Reserves says,

“The guided walks are a wonderful way to explore the island and learn about its fascinating wildlife and history. The standard walks are led by the island wardens who are incredibly knowledgeable and will share their experiences of what it is like to live on a small island off the coast of Cornwall. Local experts lead the speciality walks and are ideal for those who want to delve deeper into the island’s history or bird life.”

All the guided walks are afternoon events and cost £25 per person. Booking is essential. For further information, including how to book see our Looe Island page or call 07814 166718 (sorry but are only able to take on-line bookings).