St Catherine's Island
St Catherine's Island, Tenby. Taken from Castle Hill.
|Length||0.2 km (0.12 mi)|
|Width||0.06 km (0.037 mi)|
|Highest elevation||34 m (112 ft)|
St Catherine's Island (Welsh: Ynys Catrin) is a small tidal island linked to Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales, 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. The area directly in front of the island is known as the Catterns. In April 2014 the island was opened to the public for the first time since 1979. The fort is expected to open to the public in late/early 2014/15
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. 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”.
For many centuries a tiny church was the only building on the Island. The remains of the church were demolished when the fort was constructed in 1867. Information on the finds discovered during the demolition can be found at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery. Since the construction of the fort the island has had several owners.
Formed from an outcrop of limestone, on average 25m high, the island is riddled with tidal caves. The island is approximately 200m long and 60m wide.
The area below the high waterline at St Catherine's Island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
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