Skokholm Lighthouse

Skokholm Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1916, safeguarding ships along this stretch of coastline into Milford Haven or up the Bristol Channel

The small island of Skokholm, just 1¼ miles long by ½ mile wide, lies just off the Pembrokeshire coast; the lighthouse is situated on the south west point of the island. The island has high cliffs rising sheer from the sea to well over 30 metres in many places and is home to a great variety of bird life.

Skokholm Lighthouse forms the landward corner of a triangle of lights—the others being South Bishop and the Smalls—guiding ships clear of this particularly treacherous stretch of coastline into Milford Haven or up the Bristol Channel.

Before the lighthouse could be built on the island, a jetty had to be constructed in order that building materials could be landed safely; after the station had been completed, this jetty was used for landing stores and supplies, these being carried the mile to the lighthouse on two small trucks running on a narrow gauge railway.

The lighthouse is architecturally notable for being the last traditional stone-built lighthouse erected by Trinity House.

The trucks were originally pulled by a donkey which somehow always seemed to know when a relief day was due because he would deliberately hide often standing motionless under an overhanging rock. The colour of the rock blended perfectly with the donkey's grey coat, and he would just stand there while the keepers walked for miles seeking him. On any other day the donkey would come at a call. The pony which replaced him apparently soon learned the tricks because he did his best to cause upsets every time he was called upon to pull the trucks, scattering coal and stores all over the place. A tractor was subsequently used for haulage, when relief was by tender from Holyhead, but nowadays a helicopter is used.

Although keepers no longer live at the station Skokholm Island is still inhabited as the island has been made into a bird sanctuary with ornithologists from all over the world visiting the specially built hide to study the rare and unusual bird life.

Skokholm Lighthouse was automated in 1983. The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from Trinity House’s Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex.