- Jun 3, 2019
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On a recent break to south wales I thought if would be fun for my lad & myself to get a rib boat to the island of flat holm. This would combine a bit of exploring & birdwatching.
The rib boat was fun, with one of the guides stating it was "the roughest crossing she has ever done" lol.
Long report again Im afraid
I can only see one prev report from here by @tumbles here https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/flat-holm-island-june-2010.66884/ I was a bit gutted that the fog horn station is now inaccessible but more of that later.
The island has a long history of occupation, dating at least from the Bronze Age. Religious uses include visits by disciples of Saint Cadoc in the 5th-6th century AD, and in 1835 it was the site of the foundation of the Bristol Channel Mission, which later became the Mission to Seafarers. A sanatorium for cholera patients was built in 1896 as the isolation hospital for the port of Cardiff. Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first wireless signals over open sea from Flat Holm to Lavernock. Because of frequent shipwrecks, a lighthouse was built on the island, which was replaced by a Trinity House lighthouse in 1737. Because of its strategic position on the approaches to Bristol and Cardiff a series of gun emplacements, known as Flat Holm Battery, were built in the 1860s as part of a line of defences, known as Palmerston Forts. On the outbreak of World War II, the island was rearmed
This was a paid for trip to the island which is manned by a lovely couple & a trainee warden so other than a sneak in a few out of bounds underground bits I wasnt going to try to get in any of the buildings that they had stated were locked, but there was enough to fill our 2 & half hour visit anyway.
Flatholm Lighthouse was built in 1737 in the busy shipping lanes where the Bristol Channel meets the Severn Estuary; the tower was re-engineered in 1820 and 1866.
The Height of Tower was 30 m which was above Mean High Water 50 m
This was automated in 1988. The Optic is a 1st Order (920mm) catadioptric fixed with an Intensity17,100 candela & Range of light15 NM
Fog Horn Station
Foghorn Station with keeper's house and enclosure. The foghorn station is a grade II listed building, and is an excellent example of a complete foghorn station. Built in 1906, the foghorn station was restored during the 1960's by the Flat Holm Society and reopened in May 2000, where the foghorn sounded, it's first since 1988.
The foghorn station comprises of two buildings aligned with each other in a walled enclosure. The compressor house of the fog station is the northernmost building, with the former lighthouse-keepers' cottage adjacent to it
The keepers house is currently the home of the aforementioned young trainee warden, she was telling me she dosent leave the island for 3 weeks at a time just accommodating the visitors once a day.
A sneaky look under the door confirms what we were told, I believe funding is heading their way though so this may be open again soon
Cant find much history on this building, according to the date stone it was built in 1869 & now houses a small shop , museum & "the pub"
In 1883, Flat Holm became used as an isolation hospital to protect the mainland against a cholera epidemic.
In 1892, after a serious outbreak of cholera in Hamburg, five infected vessels were discovered and moored off Flat Holm. Patients were removed and taken to Flat Holm’s hospital. The following year cholera broke out again and two more patients were taken to the hospital. The small building was proving to be insufficient and it was decided that a more substantial hospital was needed. In 1896 a new hospital was built. The main building consisted of two six-bed wards, whilst the converted building was improved to provide four extra beds. A laundry and a wooden crematorium were also constructed.
In 1935 the Ministry of Health condemned the building.
Unfortunately this was not accessible at all so just a few distant shots.
Too many security gulls here anyway
The fortification of Flat Holm started in spring 1941 and the main construction of the gun positions continued throughout 1942.
Over 350 soldiers were then stationed on Flat Holm. Two batteries under Anti-Aircraft (AA) Command were established. Both consisted of two heavy, 4.5 inch AA Mark 2 guns, a command post, and were flanked by two searchlights. Bofor and Lewis guns augmented the AA armament.
Incorporated into the design of the South Battery was the now nicknamed “Benger Goalpost”. Major D Benger, who commanded 146 Coast Battery, was worried by the proximity of his Number 2 Gun to the Lighthouse. There was considerable danger that the gun might blow the top off the tower. He had a frame of 2” steel piping erected, which forced the gun to be raised, thus avoiding the danger.
A narrow gauge railway, unusually of World War I German construction, used diesel locomotives and wagons to convey ammunition, materials and provisions across the island.
Into the ammo stores
Friendly cave spider in here
No idea what this thing was?
This sloped ramp was a radar station
Thats about it from here as we boarded our boat for what was fortunately a much smoother ride back
We almost stayed dry too till this caught us while waiting to re-enter the harbour lol
Thanks For Looking