St Catherine's Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
St Catherine's Island
Wales nov 2001 st catherine's island.jpg
St Catherine's Island, Tenby. Taken from Castle Hill.
St Catherine's Island is located in Pembrokeshire
St Catherine's Island
St Catherine's Island
Location Tenby
Coordinates 51°40′14″N 4°41′32″W / 51.67056°N 4.69222°W / 51.67056; -4.69222
Length 0.2 km (0.12 mi)
Width 0.06 km (0.037 mi)
Highest elevation 34 m (112 ft)
County Pembrokeshire

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.[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]

In 2016 The Final Problem, the third and last episode of the fourth series of the BBC TV series Sherlock was filmed on the island, with it standing in as a maximum security prison.[6]


Formed from an outcrop of limestone, on average 25m high, the island is riddled with tidal caves. The island is approximately 200 metres (660 ft) long and 60 metres (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.[7]



  1. ^ Phillips, Alan (26 September 2013). Castles and Fortifications of Wales. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-4456-2484-6. 
  2. ^ "Tenby's landmark St Catherine's Island to reopen as a tourist attraction". Wales Online. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Gosse, Philip Henry (1856). Tenby: A Sea-side Holiday. John Van Voorst. p. 14. 
  4. ^ Breverton, Terry (28 February 2013). The Welsh: The Biography. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 553. ISBN 978-1-4456-1572-1. 
  5. ^ a b "St Catherine's Island and Fort". BBC. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  6. ^ Wales online article about the shoot
  7. ^ "St Catherine's Island and Fort". BBC. 6 June 2004. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 

External links[edit]