Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Island offers escape at Christmas
Sheep on Flat Holm in winter
Where sheep may safely graze - Flat Holm in winter

An island off the south Wales coast is offering its first festive breaks to those who want to get away from it all for Christmas.

Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel is inviting people to share a communal experience away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland.

Visitors can work off their turkey by helping warden Matthew Lipton with conservation work.

Accommodation is available on the island from 23 to 27 December.

There is plenty of festive fun planned during the five-day break including Christmas quizzes, night time walks, games and much more.

Matthew will also play the role of Father Christmas and present guests with a gift.

Flat Holm warden Matthew Lipton

The five night break costs £200 per person, which includes the boat transfer to and from the island, all food and drink, accommodation plus entertainment.

There will be room for 10 to 15 people in dormitory style accommodation in the 18th Century farmhouse.

Meals will be a communal effort, with small groups each night taking it in turns to cook, including helping the warden prepare Christmas lunch.

Matthew, who has been warden of the island for eight months, is looking forward to spending Christmas on Flat Holm for the first time.

He says the visitors can be as involved as they want or simply enjoy the location, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and nature reserve managed by Cardiff council.

"They can just go there and relax, soak up the history of the island, or if they want to get involved we can have a few Christmas games," he says.

"There's even some conservation work if they want to be energetic and burn off some Christmas pounds."

Derelict buildings on Flat Holm
Conservation work may be available depending on the weather

Matthew adds that there's already been some interest in the opportunity to spend Christmas on Flat Holm, although it's too early to predict the type of weather they'll be facing.

"We've got one or two people who have been over to the island already and just love the idea of spending Christmas there, and then a few people who have never been before - so the spaces are booking up," he says.

"Even if it is a little bit bleak it's still a very nice location to be in. We've got the old farmhouse all heated by driftwood which washes up on the beaches so it'll be lovely and cosy whatever the weather."

"Thankfully the gull colony has gone at the moment so no-one will be getting attacked by any of the wildlife."

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