Livre shares his passion for the spiritual home | New
The story of an island of international wildlife and scientific importance and one of the UK’s most beloved natural sites is revealed in a new book by Barmouth-based Mike Alexander.
Skomer Island – Its History and Natural History, published by Y Lolfa, is the most comprehensive account of the island and its flora and fauna ever produced and is the result of years of meticulous research by the author .
The volume is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of the author’s photographs of landscapes, species and habitats, as well as unpublished photographs of the ancient inhabitants of the island.
“I have a passion for the island and believe that an account of the history of Skomer and in particular of natural history is long overdue,” said Mike.
“Skomer is my cynefin, my spiritual home.
“I want to highlight the long relationship between people and place: Skomer is a cultural landscape, shaped over thousands of years by people who strive to make a living.
“I want to show how the island has evolved in response to changing human values, attitudes and interventions.
“I believe that we are part of the natural world and that we must maintain our connection with nature.”
Skomer Island lies off the Pembrokeshire coast and became a National Nature Reserve in 1959. It has significant international populations of seabirds, including puffins and manx shearwaters, and large numbers of babies. gray seals are born on the beaches of the island.
The breathtaking displays of spring flowers, including hyacinths from coast to coast, give the island an almost unmatched beauty, and it is also one of the best preserved prehistoric landscapes in Grande- Brittany.
Mike Alexander describes Skomer as “a wonderful and wild place where nature is allowed to reign”, while in his foreword to the book, Iolo Williams describes the island as “the jewel in the crown of Welsh wildlife” and a special place, that of the Welsh. reserve that can “hold its head up high among the world’s elite”.
Mike is an international authority in conservation management and has worked in nature conservation for 50 years, 10 of which were spent as the Island Guardian.
He has kept in close contact ever since and is now chairman of the Wildlife Trust South and West Wales and the Pembrokeshire Islands Advisory Committee which looks after the island.
“I started writing the book over 10 years ago,” he recalls.
“A book like this is inevitably a compilation and distillation of research conducted and published by others. I spent long days in the Pembrokeshire Archives, the Cardiff Archives and the National Library of Wales – there was so much to discover. But the best part of the whole process was the opportunity to meet and talk to the descendants of families who once farmed or lived in Skomer.
Iolo Williams says of the book: “To say it’s complete is an understatement. Mike has gathered all the information about the island, from geology and topography to human and natural history. “
Mike added: “The main purpose of the book is to celebrate such a wonderful place in the hope that it will inspire others to take care of Skomer and our natural environment.
“I hope my typical reader will be someone who enjoys the campaign and would like to know more about conservation management and the decisions we make.”