Plymouth's Drake's Island reopens to the public

After years of being dormant, Drake's Island in Plymouth Sound is about to be reopened to the public. Credit: ITV News West Country

Drake's Island is officially open to the public for the first time in decades following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The Island was granted legal rights to move forward with plans in May this year by the city council following lockdown.

Morgan Phillips, the custodian of Drake’s Island, said: "We are delighted to have developed a close working relationship with Plymouth City Council, which is allowing us to move forward with setting up the Island to be shared by everyone."

There is still a lot of hard work to do to make sure the Island is developed sensitively, but we are now confident this can be achieved.

Morgan Phillips, the custodian of Drake's Island

The first guided tour of the Island will leave from Mountbatten at 10am on Tuesday 7 July with capacity limited to 30 due to social distancing rules.

Tours will take place on most days throughout July, weather permitting. The hope is that they will be expanded into August and beyond dependent on coronavirus restrictions.

Morgan explained: “We are delighted to be able to welcome the public on to Drake's Island for the first time since the 1980s. 

"When we purchased the Island, we said that our aim was to enable public access and include the people of Plymouth in our plans.

"This gives the public a chance to set foot on the Island for the first time in a generation and see its magic and potential before works commence in earnest.”

Drakes Island has been used as a prison, a religious centre, a refuge and an adventure training facility. Credit: ITV News West Country

Plans for the Island include a Heritage Centre and Educational facilities for both the Ocean Conservation Trust / National Marine Aquarium and Plymouth University.

Reporting on the progress of plans, Morgan commented: “We have engaged with a variety of local organisations to gather ideas and find out how Drake’s Island can be utilised for the whole community.  Those plans are beginning to take shape and we look forward to releasing more details in the coming months."