Don’t miss the boat to Looe Island Nature Reserve

Monday 12th March 2018

Looe Island by Paul Lightfoot

Bookings are now being taken for this year’s trips to Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s stunning Island Nature Reserve, just off the coast at Looe, and a place on their ever popular Guided Walks. It all begins with a fun 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.

Boats leave from Looe’s bustling fishing harbour and once on the island, the resident Cornwall Wildlife Trust warden will tell visitors all about the fascinating nature and history of the island, including the intriguing story of how the Atkins sisters bought the island in the 1960s and later bequeathed it to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Wardens will escort visitors around the island and then there’s a 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 explain how the island nature reserve is home to many nesting seabirds 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 wingspan of around 1.5m! The breeding colonies and displays of wildlife flowers along the dramatic coastline offer wonderful views, and 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 vegetable plots. The gardens are managed with wildlife in mind and it is here visitors are likely to see one of the 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: Thursday 29th March, Friday 13th and Saturday 28th April, Sunday 13th May, Tuesday 12th June, Thursday 12th and Thursday 26th July, Sunday 23rd September, Sunday 7th October. 

In addition, there are three speciality walks, each guided by local experts: Saturday 12th May and Saturday 8th September History of Looe Island with Mark Camp. Monday 28th May, Birds of Looe Island, bring your binoculars, with Derek Spooner.

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”

The guided walks are afternoon events, time range from 2.00pm to 18.15pm. There are two boats a day with 11 spaces on each boat. The number for speciality walks is only ten, cost is £25 per person. Booking is essential. No under 11-year-olds allowed, and all 11-16-year-olds must be accompanied. No dogs allowed due to the wildlife. Further information, including how to book can be found here