Steep Holm island is close to Flat Holm, in the Bristol Channel. It is located just off the coast of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and is an English island, whereas Flat Holm is Welsh. Although the two islands are close to each other, because of bureaucracy you can’t simply ho from one to the other, but of course, you can visit both. Steep Holm is so called because it rises from the sea and Flat Holm, doesn’t rise steeply. It is isolated partly because of the swirling currents which surround it and partly because landing on the island can be tricky. It is famous for the wild peonies that grow there and for its unspoilt, natural beauty.
Steep Holm is a Nature Reserve and a site of Special Scientific Interest. It also has the ruins of a 12th century Augustine priory on it.
Depending on the weather, there are day trips to Steep Holm, from April to October, on small boats that hold a maximum of twelve passengers. It is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment, although if the weather is bad, there will be no boat. The boats leaves from Weston-super-Mare at Knightstone Causeway and you should be there at least half an hour before the boat is due to leave, so that you can have the safety briefing.
If you are a stamp collector, then you probably know that Steep Holm issues its own stamps, as well as a postal service, so you can send postcards from the island. These and other souvenirs can be bought at the Victorian Barracks Visitor’s Centre. There is also a selection of hot and cold drinks and home-made delicacies to tempt your palate. You may have to pay for everything in cash as credit and debit cards weren’t accepted when I was last there. You can see an exhibition about the history of the island at the visitor’s centre and outside on the island there are Victorian gun placements and fortifications dating back to the Second World War.
You should be advised that you have to be physically fit to go on a trip to Steep Holm as although there are members of staff to help, you have to cross some rough terrain to traverse the island. Children under the age of five cannot go to the island because of the rules governing life jackets. Pregnant women and people with back problems are advised not to travel to Steep Holm.
The views from Steep Holm are spectacular, with views of the Bristol Channel and the English and Welsh coast. In May the European wild peonies are in bloom, but there is other vegetation for you to delight in as well as Muntjac deer and other wildlife. It costs £26 for an adult and £17.50 for children 5 -12 years of age. At least one adult has to accompany children who are of the correct ages to go on this trip. Safety is a big concern. You are allowed one small bag per person on the boat and should wear waterproof clothing and flat, sensible walking shoes or boots.