Taking up an Island Challenge

A dream job like no other, located on an island gem five miles off shore from Cardiff with its own lighthouse, it was an opportunity Mat Brown could not resist. Mat successfully landed the job of Warden on Flat Holm Island and is now looking forward to being castaway for the summer and relishing a taste of island life.

With a background in Environmental Science, Mat's priorities on the island include habitat management, monitoring wildlife such as the birds, butterflies and the Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull colonies, along with maintaining the historic buildings from Victorian barracks to the old farmhouse that serves as home and residential centre for up to 24 people. There is also a field study centre to manage, volunteer wardens to supervise and a pub to run, ‘The Gull and Leek', the most southerly pub in Wales.  His most immediate task is to get the island ready for visitors and to ensure that everything is in place to ensure overnight guests and day visitors have an unforgettable experience.
 Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “Flat Holm is one of Cardiff’s most beautiful outdoor assets, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy exceptional wildlife in its natural surroundings and just a short boat ride from the city. The role of warden on the island is unique one, and I wish Mat all the best in what is sure to be a fantastic experience.”  

Mat is no stranger to Flat Holm as a few years ago he worked there as a volunteer for 6 months over the winter period.  He fell for the island's unique character, sense of wilderness and stunning views of the coasts of England and Wales.  He will spend a month at a time on the island before returning back to the mainland.  It takes a lot of planning and foresight to ensure he has everything he needs during his island stay.  Although he can see the bright city lights at night and even hear the roars from the Principality Stadium on match day, deliveries to the island are dependent on the tides. 

Mat Brown, said, ‘I fell in love with the island. It's such a healthy place to live, it sharpens your skills and is a great place to take your ecological studies to the next level, given the depth of resources all around you with no distractions. I am also passionate about sharing the cultural heritage and natural history of the island with visitors. If I can leave the Island in a better shape than when I arrived, then it will all be worthwhile."      

Natalie Taylor, Team Leader, Cardiff Harbour Authority said, "We are delighted Mat has taken on this challenge.  It will be a demanding and rewarding experience as there are a number of projects to complete over the summer which will help conserve the Island's natural and cultural features."   

For a day out with a difference, why not make your own visit to Flat Holm to meet Mat and the team?  Day visits to the island are operated by Bay Island Voyages ( and Cardiff Sea Safaris (      

For more information on how you can visit, stay, volunteer or find out more about Flat Holm visit: