A day trip to Looe Island

Nature lovers at the ready

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Hayley Bisofsky Pope
Cornwall dweller, lifestyle blogger and founder of The Little Naturalists Club
29 June 2022

The calm waters around the picturesque harbour town of Looe have been a protected marine nature reserve since 1995 and form part of the Looe Voluntary Marine Conservation Area.

An array of habitats

The conservation area covers 5km of coastline and offer amazingly diverse habitats that include rocky shores, mud flats, sand and gravel shores and seagrass beds which are all teeming with life.

About a mile offshore and included in the marine nature reserves designated zone is a small island called St Georges Island. It’s commonly referred to as Looe island and is now owned and managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

All aboard!

The island and its foreshore is now managed for the benefit of wildlife and provides a quiet haven for many different species. You can experience the island only by organised boat trips that leave from Looe harbour.

Pleasure boats, jet skis, kayaks/canoes, paddleboards and swimmers are all asked to respect the no landing sign.

Getting to the island

1) The small passenger boat (Moonraker) can only access the island up to two to three hours either side of high tide, in daylight hours and in fair weather. Trips cannot take place at low tide or in rough seas. Check the boat times here https://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/2022-03/Looe%20Island%20Public%20Boat%20Trips%20Timetable%202022.pdf

2) Call the boatman on 07814 264 514 (no texts or messages) and book your seat on the boat.

3) Organise the correct change for the boat and island. Return boat fee is £10 per adult and £5 per child (10 and under). This is paid to the boatman on the return journey. An island landing fee is paid on arrival at the island, £5 per adult and £2 per child (10 and under).

Enjoy the ride

4) Board the boat from the floating pontoon, near the RNLI lifeboat station slipway in East Looe. There is an island trips information board on Buller’s Quay which is alongside the RNLI slipway close to the junction of Church End and River View in East Looe. The boatman will advertise upcoming trips on this board. Be aware that the boatman waits for no one. If you are a minute late he will have already left and if he is fully booked on the next slot (which is often the case as it’s only a small boat) you may not be able to go that day.

5) The boat crossing is 20 minutes and you will have about two hours on the island to explore.

6) Upon arrival at the island you will be led across the shingle beach and meet the wardens who live on the island. They are warm and informative and seem to enjoy sharing their home with nature loving individuals.

Time to explore

6) You will then be led up to the tractor shed where your landing fees will be taken and the island guides handed out. You can also explore the small tractor shed which has some bones and other collectables that have been washed up on the island.

7) The guide is a laminated, spiral bound booklet which is easy to follow and leads you around the island pointing out the history and nature to spot. The walk around the island is only 1km and can be done quickly in 30 minutes however, people choose to take a picnic blanket, some binoculars, as flask of tea and take in the scenery.

The island has no bins or cafe so you will need to bring our own refreshments and take your rubbish home with you. The is a simple compost toilet for public use.