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Field Guides & Natural History  Natural History  Regional Natural History  Natural History of Europe

Skomer Island The History and Natural History of an Island National Nature Reserve

New
By: Mike Alexander(Author), Iolo Williams(Preface By), Chris Perrins(Foreword By)
445 pages, colour & b/w photos, b/w illustrations, colour & b/w maps
Publisher: Y Lolfa Cyf
Skomer Island
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Average customer review
  • Skomer Island ISBN: 9781784618117 Hardback Apr 2021 In stock
    £29.99
    #249684
Price: £29.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Read our interview with Mike Alexander

Skomer is a captivating Welsh island and one of Britain's most spectacular National Nature Reserves. It has internationally important populations of seabirds, including puffins and Manx shearwaters, and large numbers of grey seal pups are born on the island's beaches. The breathtaking displays of spring flowers, including coast-to-coast bluebells, give the island an almost unrivalled beauty, and it is also one of the best-preserved prehistoric landscapes in Britain.

The author's years of meticulous research have resulted in the most complete account of the island's history and natural history ever produced, beautifully illustrated throughout with his own exquisite photographs of species and habitats. Through close co-operation with descendants of the island's former farming families, Mike Alexander has compiled a collection of important and previously unpublished photographs, which inform and enhance the historical sections.

Not since Ronald Lockley's work has there been a book like Skomer Island. Written with a level of detail that would make it relevant to professional conservationists, but presented in a style that is also accessible to amateur naturalists and anyone with an interest in the countryside. Tens of thousands of people visit Skomer and the surrounding cliffs of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park every year, and many of them will be inspired to learn more about its history and natural history. Skomer is extremely popular, receiving regular media attention from magazines, radio and television wildlife programmes.

At the heart of Skomer Island is the relationship between people and place: how Skomer has been moulded over the centuries to meet the needs of a succession of inhabitants. This is a universal theme that transcends the boundaries of this tiny fragment of land, and would be relevant to anyone who is curious about the environment we have created.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • A fabulous account of a Welsh Island NNR
    By Richard 9 Jun 2021 Written for Hardback
    This is a book about the Island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast in South West Wales. Having visited Skomer a number of times over the years on day trips, I knew something of the recent history of the island and its importance for wildlife and especially the seabirds. So having read a brief synopsis of the book, I decided to buy a copy to “fill in the gaps” and enlighten me (or not).

    The book is a weighty tome of 445 pages on glossy paper filled with text, maps and wonderful photographs. The font size is a bit small but once you get used to it, it’s not a problem (I guess that the smaller the font size the more information can be included). It is literally packed with detailed information and covers the geology topography, climate, cultural history, wildlife and the natural history of the island.
    This is a very readable book and it was of particular interest to me as I have an interest in natural history, but the author has written this in a way in which I think can appeal to readers who have little or no knowledge of natural history but may have visited the island and would like to know more about the background before it became a National Nature Reserve and since its designation as an island reserve.

    As I mentioned above the book is illustrated with photographs, most of them taken by the author, the exceptions being the historical photos. These are used to illustrate points made in the text but also serve to illustrate what a wonderful island Skomer is.

    The author has also included paragraphs with a grey background to provide additional detail of a subject without distracting the reader from the main text. For example, there is a reference to names of soil types found on the island and these are explained. so someone who knows nothing about soils can read up on soils but someone who has some soil knowledge can easily skip over this section. I thought this was an excellent idea.

    There are also amazing facts, for example, the name of the flowering plant on the old thrupenny bit coin. I often wondered what this was and eventually, now I know (you’ll have to read the book to find out the name of the plant).

    I think this is a fabulous book and is a must for anyone who has an interest in natural history or just island cultural history and how the island has changed over the years.

    Furthermore, it provides a good starting point for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the history or the ecology of the island.
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Biography

Mike Alexander spent 10 years as warden of Skomer Island. He is a trustee and director of the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales, the organisation responsible for managing Skomer, and was recently elected Chairman of the island's Advisory Committee. He managed the National Nature Reserves throughout Wales and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and for the past 10 years, he has been the Chairman of a Welsh Government-sponsored organisation called PONT, which seeks to bridge the gap between farmers and nature conservation. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, as well as a lecturer at Bangor University and Birkbeck, University of London. His book, Management Planning for Nature Conservation, has become the standard text on the subject and is now in its second edition, published in 2013 by Springer. His stunning photographs have been widely published in books and in magazines such as BBC Countryfile, to which he is a regular contributor.

New
By: Mike Alexander(Author), Iolo Williams(Preface By), Chris Perrins(Foreword By)
445 pages, colour & b/w photos, b/w illustrations, colour & b/w maps
Publisher: Y Lolfa Cyf
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