Looe Island, also known as St George's Island, is a small island a mile from the mainland town of Looe in Cornwall. Until recently it was owned (and inhabited) by two elderly sisters, Babs and Evelyn Atkins, who have made a gift of the island to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust in perpetuity.
It is an island of outstanding natural beauty, about 22.5 acres in area and a mile in circumfrence. The highest point is 150 feet above sea level. With frost and snow virtually unknown it has an exceptionally mild climate. Daffodils bloom at Christmas and, unlike most small islands, it is partly wooded. A natural sanctuary for sea and woodland birds and one time haunt to smugglers, its history includes a Benedictine chapel built in 1139 of which only a few stones remain visible. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimethea landed here with the child Christ.
The island is normally only accessible by boat but at the neap tides it is just about possible for the journey to be made by foot across the rocky sea floor.
Evelyn Atkins wrote two books about the purchase of the island and what it is like to live there. She died in 1997 at the age of 87 but her sister Babs has continued to live on the island.
The island is open to day visitors (a landing fee is payable) in the summer. This is a non-profit making venture, the landing fees and other income being devoted to conserving the island's natural beauty and to providing facilities for visitors without commercialising it in any way.