Puffin Island and Trwyn Du Lighthouse
Photo : Tim Snow

puffin island - ynys seiriol

Puffin Island or Ynys Seiriol as it is known locally is an island on the north eastern point on Anglesey, marking the eastern entrance to the Menai Strait. Puffin Island is a Special Protection Area SPA. The colony of great cormorant’s in the region of 800 pairs, making it one of the largest in the British Isles. The Island is extremely popular with many other types of sea birds like razorbill, cormorant, shag, black guillemot, guillemot and kittiwake’s to name but a few, the high shelved cliffs make it an ideal nesting location.

puffins on puffin island

One of the many Puffins on Puffin Island

The island once famous for its Puffins but after a local shipwreck many years ago the island was swamped with brown rats which killed all the puffins. During the late 1990’s the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) introduced a program to poison the rats, the island now seems to be free and slowly but surely the population of Puffins is returning.

Puffin Island is home to a colony of grey seals which can very often be seen bobbing in the sea and basking on the rocks, becoming more popular in the waters of this area and in other areas around Anglesey bottle nose dolphins and harbour porpoise can be seen.

semaphore station on puffin island

Old Semaphor station on Puffin Island

The ruins of several building can be seen on the Island including a 12th century church which was dedicated to St Seiriol. It is said that St Seiriol is buried on the island, along with his patron, King Maelgwn of Gwynedd, who once ruled North Wales. In 1841 a semaphore signalling station was built at the eastern end of the island. These where part of a chain of telegraph stations which ran from Holyhead along the North Wales coast to Liverpool and was used to relay the names of ships passing the coast of Anglesey on route to Liverpool.

Unfortunately the coast of Anglesey is famous for its many shipwrecks around its coast, and the area around Puffin Island is no exception. In 1831 a wooden hulled paddle steamer called the Rothesay Castle which was on a day trip from Liverpool sank near to the island, and only 23 people survived from 140. As a result of this maritime tragedy the Anglesey Lifesaving Association was founded and opened the Anglesey lifeboat station at Penmon in 1832. This lifeboat station and the remains of its slip way can still be seen today.

It was because of this sinking that the Penmon Lighthouse (Trwyn Du) was built and to this day warns shipping about the stretch of water between Puffin Island and Penmon Point known as Puffin Sound.

The island is currently privately owned by the Baron Hill estate and you need special permission to go ashore onto Puffin Island.