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Ramsey Island

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Come and visit us on the beautiful RSPB Nature Reserve of Ramsey Island. At nearly 120mtrs (400ft) the western cliffs are among some of the highest in Wales, home to Ravens, Peregrines and Buzzards.

In spring, Guillimots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Shags come to nest too. Choughs also breed on these cliffs, seeking out deep fissures and caves in which to build their nests.
The island is awash with colour from May to September, with bluebells, then pink thrift, then heather.

In August the cliffs empty as the auk chicks head out to the open sea.  Now its time for the Atlantic Grey Seals. Several hundred seal pups are born each autumn on Ramsey's beaches and in the caves.

There is a main trail of about 3.5 miles (5.6 km), which can be divided into two loops by taking the shortcut (the shortcut is closed in March-July due to nesting birds in that area).

The southern heathlands are a special combination of heather, gorse and coastal plants. In August they come into their glory, when the heathers and gorse flower together. This habitat is the haunt of Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Skylarks. The summits of Carn Ysgubor and Carn Llundain give splendid views to the mainland, south to Skomer Island and on the clearest of days, west to Ireland. Look out for Wheatears, Pipits and Choughs).

Above passengers wait outside Ramsey Farmhouse for the return of the ferry.  Tea, coffee, water, chocolate, snacks and postcards are available at the farmhouse, it is good idea to take a picnic with you.  You can also become an RSPB member while you are on the island if you wish.  RSPB membership gives you free entry to all RSPB Nature Reserves, we refund your landing fee and you get a free gift when you join on the island, ask the RSPB wardens Greg and Lisa or the RSPB volunteers.  
Passengers boarding the Gower Ranger for the trip back to the mainland.


Whats happening on Ramsey. 
Click here to visit the Ramsey Island Blog.

Customer comments:
My family and I recently embarked on one of your boats trip. I just wanted to write to commend all the staff both on the boat and on the island for making it such a fantastic day! I have lived in Pembrokeshire for many years and can't believe I haven't taken the trip sooner.
Many thanks, Jennifer Bland
 We were lucky to catch a glimpse of the local residents

Some of Ramsey Islands history:
 
Ramsey in the Dark Ages by Richard Fenton, the renowned Pembrokeshire antiquarian, was the first to record the existence of an early Christian cemetery on Ramsey.

The old house where I have formerly made one of many a pleasant party is in ruins, and a new farm-house built near.  In digging its foundation the workmen found several stone coffins, and the whole bank on which the house stands appears to have been a burying ground, as at the foot of it where a path was formed, one was shown to me open at the end and containing bones.

More graves were discovered in the 1860s in front of the farmhouse.  Finally, in 1963, during building work to the farmhouse, 5 or 6 'headstones' were noted, outside the front door.  Some years later - and unfortunately when the other stones had been used in building work or discarded, an inscription was noticed on the remaining 'headstone'. It is reported on by Dr Elizabeth Okasha and is now in the National Museum of Wales. The inscription reads: S[.]TVRNBIV-. Above that single line is a Greek-style cross and above that the the terminal lines of what might have been a sundial, now broken off. Is there any connection between this archaeological evidence and the traditions of a hermitage linked to Justinian in medieval traditions and the holy wells of Justinian and DyfaIiog?

It is quite clear that the 'coffins' are in fact what archaeologists term 'long-cist' graves. These are slab-lined graves with base and capping stone slabs. If the vegetation is down Sue Ward can point out one such for you exposed in the cliff face alongside the track leading up from the landing place. Long cist cemeteries are fairly densely distributed in south-west and north-west Wales. They are difficult to date - any time between the fifth and eleventh centuries, although radio-carbon dates from bone can help. They need not necessarily be the cemeteries of a Christian community, or prove the existence of a ‘mastery’. But what of Saturnbiu?

By a remarkable co-incidence this is the name of an important historic person. Saturnbiu Hail (the generous) whose death was recorded in a medieval chronicle, the Annales Cambriae in 831. He is the first recorded Bishop of St. David's. By the ninth century St David was the most important and the most venerated of the saints in Wales. And his monastery at Mynyw (Menevia) was powerful and well endowed with lands. His cult had eclipsed that of more 'local' saints, of whom we may number Justinian and Dyfanog. Traditions of ascetism were firmly linked to the historical David. Perhaps periods of retreat and penitential practices were institutionalized in the annual liturgical cycle. And where more suitable than Ramsey? Dean of St. Davids, the Very Revd J. Wyn Evans, tentatively suggests that Bishop Saturnbiu may have died while on Lenten retreat on Ramsey.

Yet the cults of 'local' saints often persisted through the Middle Ages, linked to a church or two and to 'springs or wells. Justinian was the more successful though an old Welsh verse Stinan a Devanog/ Dau anwyl gymmydog (Justinian and Dyfanog, two dear neighbours) shows that their cults were linked. Justinian was important enough to be linked to St. David – as his ‘confessor’ – and for his bones to be buried in the Cathedral. The chapels and holy wells on both sides of Ramsey Sound ensured that the traditions of an early hermitage on Ramsey remained firmly linked to Justinian.

There are a lots of things to do and attractions in St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales.