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A Tiny Island Home to Rare Birds and Wildlife is Searching for a New Warden

Alexandra Dantzer
The house on Lihou island.
The house on Lihou island.

Lihou island, located westward off the coast of Guernsey, between Great Britain and France is now owned by the parliament of Guernsey, but it has had a turbulent history changing owners now and again.

The long history of this tiny paradise dates back to 933 AD when the island was seized by the ruler of Normandy. It bounced back and forth between the French and British for quite some time when the Germans occupied it during World War II.

Lihou Island – Lower House. Photo by Colin Smith CC By SA 2.0

Lihou Island – Lower House. Photo by Colin Smith CC By SA 2.0

They used the island to conduct target practice. The States of Guernsey eventually bought Lihou from its last private owners Robin and Patricia Borwick in 1995.

The island is under the protection of The Environment Department of the States of Guernsey, as it is a breeding ground of many endangered bird species, such as Eurasian oystercatchers and common ringed plovers, together with two additional islets, Lissroy and Lihoumel.

Location of Lihou. Photo by Aotearoa CC BY-SA 3.0

Location of Lihou. Photo by Aotearoa CC BY-SA 3.0

Lihou houses more than 150 different bird species. The island and its wildlife are carefully protected as Lihou was recognized as a “Site of Nature Conservation Importance” in 1989.

Besides rare birds, it is a site of more than 200 species of seaweed that were used as the bedrock for its economy and consequently prompted an emergence of a factory in 1927 where iodine was extracted from these plants.

The remains of walls on Lihou. Photo by Derek Harper CC BY-SA 2.0

The remains of walls on Lihou. Photo by Derek Harper CC BY-SA 2.0

Nowadays, the island has only one house and the economy is based around ecological tourism under the guidance of The Lihou Charitable Trust. The island provides a unique opportunity to experience life surrounded by nature.

Lihou’s official website states: “Lihou Island is a fantastic location enabling residents to enjoy the peace and tranquility that can be sadly absent from modern life. There is no television or music system in the house but there are engaging views that are ever changing with the weather, light and tides.”

As the island house is available for bookings, with extras such as abseiling, archery etc., there must be someone in charge of the activities, but most importantly, to protect the ecosystem of this natural gem.

The Lihou causeway at low tide. Photo by Derek Harper CC BY-SA 2.0

The Lihou causeway at low tide. Photo by Derek Harper CC BY-SA 2.0

Lihou has a warden who has lived there for 14 years now. His name is Richard and he is in love with the island. He thinks of his work as a great privilege. However, Richard is ready to retire from his job in September 2019. He said to the Guernsey Press: “Emma, my wife, feels now is the right time for a new adventure. The children have left or are leaving for university, so now seemed like a new time to try something different.”

Lihou, therefore, needs a new warden and Richard is currently searching for his replacement, applications are open to anyone. Richard said to The Mirror: “We want to find someone that will really want the job.

 

Lihou Island – Lower House. Photo by Colin Smith CC By SA 2.0

Lihou Island – Lower House. Photo by Colin Smith CC By SA 2.0

Someone who wants to work with children, who can proactively work by themselves and who likes driving a tractor as their company car.” Environmental know-how is a plus for the job, but it is not a requirement. Most importantly the successful applicant and future warden would need to be ready to learn.

Besides driving a tractor, there are a couple more things that are offered as part of the job. There are ruins of the old priory that can be explored for all the adventure and history lovers ready to live completely off the grid. Lihou has a natural swimming pool in the middle that can be used for recreation and fun.

Besides that, the house itself has an interesting history. The Germans shelled it and it was renovated only in 2005. It is cozy and warm with only the basic facilities.

Read another story from us: Six Rambunctious New Zealanders Claim a Tiny Australian Island for Themselves

The application should be sent to Richard Curtis at his email address: info@lihouisland.com. However, unsuccessful applicants can enjoy this tiny paradise for 280 pounds per night.