Updated 28 September 2018 - New blog post - The #PeoplesWalkforWildlife

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Caldey Island & The Big Butterfly Count - 25/07/2015

Whilst on a recent trip to Tenby we decided to venture to Caldey Island. Staying on the harbour we only had to walk a few meters to the ticket hut and got there around 10am - there were only a few people in front of us, but within minutes there must have been over a hundred.

Sometime the boat doesn't run due to weather or sea current conditions, but today the weather looked lovely and we were relieved when the hut eventually opened and said the boats would be sailing.

The return ticket cost £12 and we boarded it on the nearby beach which is a short walk away.

Caldey Island ticket hut on Tenby Harbour
Waiting on the beach for the boat to arrive
We were on the first boat of the day and a glance back at the jetty revealed a huge queue waiting for the next boats that were every 20 mins
Passing St Margaret's Island
Caldey Island in front of us - to me it looks like a man laying down
The jetty on Caldey Island is on a beautiful beach called Priory Bay and as soon as we set foot on the island we instantly got a feeling of peace and calm. There s a lovely welcome message from the monks praying we all will find peace and happiness.

Priory Bay beach
Message from the monks
A gentle, short walk through woodland and you feel you have arrived in Italy not West Wales. The 1913 monastery dominates the small village of Caldey which consists of a post office, perfume shop, museum, cafe and pond. It's very pretty and not a bad place to live at all, around the pond was plenty of wildlife including mallard, moorhens and some large dragonflies.

Not far from here is the start of a nature trail that leads you through woodland. The trail brings you out to the medieval Priory Pond, the Old Priory and St Illtud's Church.

The monastery and village green
The village pond with mallard
The start of the nature trail.
The pond by St Illtud's Church is quite large and it was thriving with dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. It was also the place where I got a nasty horsefly bite...but that's another story!

The pond with St Illtud's Church
Whilst we were in such a beautiful place I thought I would take advantage of the 'Big Butterfly Count' that was currently running. The survey is aimed at assessing butterflies in our environment and has become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. You need to stay in one place for fifteen minutes and count how many butterflies you see and what species they are, you then record these on www.bigbutterflycount.org.

These are the butterflies I saw on Caldey Island within 15 minutes starting at 12pm...

Speckled Wood butterfly
Comma butterfly
Red Admiral butterfly
Screen grabs from the www.bigbutterflycount.org website

When our 15 minutes were up we decided to take a walk around the cliffs and saw quite a few bird. There were an abundance of swallows and goldfinches. We found a lovely bench in a quiet bit of the island and ate our sandwiches. The views were amazing and we could even seen Worms Head, Rhosilli.

After our food we made our way up the path to the lighthouse.

One of the many goldfinches
Our lunch spot with views of Worm's Head in the distance
The path to the lighthouse
Caldey Island lighthouse
From the lighthouse we made our way around the cliff edge and saw lots of wildlife including the boat for the seal safari which we would like to do one day. There we lots of grey seals in the sea, but unfortunately none basking on the rocks.

Seal safari boat

The path lead us along the cliffs where we passed a group of horses in a field than looked beautiful as they galloped around the field. In the sea the seals were still swimming in the water.

Lots of nice well maintained paths to explore
Horses in a nearby field
A great spot to see grey seals
Beautiful rock formations along the cliffs

There were lots of birds on the coast including skylarks and swallows as well as insects such as ladybirds, bees and cinnabar caterpillars.

Six spotted ladybird
Juvenile swallow
When we got back in the main grounds of Caldey the peacocks were out and we were so please when we saw they had chicks too.

The resident peacocks...
...and three peacock chicks
We had a great time on Caldey Island and it's definitely a great place to get away from it all. It was great to see all the wildlife too :)