St Catherine's Island

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St Catherine's Island


Wales nov 2001 st catherine's island.jpg
St Catherine's Island, Tenby. Taken from Castle Hill.
Location: 51°40’14"N, 4°41’32"W
Grid reference: SN139003

St Catherine's Island is a small tidal island linked to Tenby in Pembrokeshire, by Castle beach at low tide. The island, which is known colloquially as St Catherine's Rock, is the location of St Catherine's Fort.[1]


During the reign of Elizabeth I, the Earl of Pembroke (“Jasper”, the uncle of Henry VII) was the owner of St Catherine’s Island. Later, the ownership passed to the Corporation of Tenby, which took possession of a number of crown lands.[2] It is recorded in 1856 that a few sheep inhabited the island. An observer described them as “half wild sure footed creatures that run, turn and look, run again and leap from crag to crag almost with the agility of the Alpine Chamois”.[3]

For many centuries a tiny church was the only building on the Island. The remains of the church were demolished when St Catherine's Fort was constructed in 1867. It served as a zoo for a number of years.[4]

In April 2014 the island was opened to the public for the first time since 1979. The fort is currently running tours in which people are able to explore it.[5]


Formed from an outcrop of limestone, on average 80 ft high, the island is riddled with tidal caves. The island is approximately 650 ft long and 200 ft wide.[5]

The area below the high waterline at St Catherine's Island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The stretch directly in front of the island is known as the Catterns.[6]



Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about St Catherine's Island)