Flat Holm Island is managed by The Flat Holm Project which includes a full-time warden and a team of volunteers. The warden lives permanently on the island with about two to three volunteers at any one time. The team works on maintaining, studying and preserving the island, its buildings and its wildlife.
Flat Holm is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The warden and volunteers conserve the Island’s natural and cultural features, from maritime grassland and Victorian barracks, to seabird colonies and wartime bunkers.
Alongside the Flat Holm Project team is The Flat Holm Society. The society supports the work of the project team by raising funds and providing volunteers. They are a charity that helps protect the wildlife, and historic environment, of Flat Holm.
For further information about the society, please visit: www.flatholmsociety.org.uk
Flat Holm is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The Project conserves the Island’s natural and cultural features, from maritime grassland and Victorian barracks, to seabird colonies and wartime bunkers.
Both the lesser black-backed gull colony and the maritime grassland are considered important for nature conservation. The Island is managed in two separate ways for these features. The north side of the Island is managed for the maritime species and the south side is kept as the gull colony with minimal management.
The Flat Holm Management Plan outlines the important features of the Island. It provides a basis from which to improve the island’s habitats.
In 1982, the Flat Holm Project was established. The aim was to manage Flat Holm as a local nature reserve and to encourage visitor access and opportunities for education.
The Island has a long and varied history, having been used by man since prehistoric times. It was farmed for some 800 years and stopped in 1942. It has been fortified twice, most recently during the Second World War. The Island has many buildings and structures of historic interest, many are listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments.
Flat Holm’s natural history and geology are both interesting and important. Some of the notable features are:
• Coastal limestone grassland.
• Cliff ledge habitats.
• Wild leek.
• Colony of breeding lesser black-backed gulls.
The following is a list of some of the species that may be seen on the Island throughout the year: Birds: shelduck, oystercatchers, rock pipits, finches, turnstone and dunlin; Animals: rabbits, slow worms, common lizard and butterflies; Plants: wild leek, wild peony, thrift, rock sea lavender, sea campion and bluebells.
The Flat Holm project aims to be a showcase of sustainable technologies. The original power supply consisted of several diesel generators at different properties, which were unconnected.
In 2006/2007, a ‘mini-grid’ between the farmhouse, workshops and the fog horn keeper’s cottage was installed. This is powered by a battery bank charged by two photovoltaic solar arrays, and by a 6kW wind turbine, sited at a redundant telecommunications tower on the high point of the Island. The Island is currently able to generate 90% of its electricity from green sources, reducing its carbon footprint.
The sustainability continues because there is no natural water source on the Island, and as a result rainwater is collected from the roofs of the buildings. This is stored in the underground Victorian water tank and pumped through a UV filtration system.
A solar water heating and biomass boiler provide the Island with most of the hot water and heating that it needs throughout the year. Driftwood collected from the shore is dried out over a year, and used to fuel the boiler, reducing the need to transport wood from the mainland.