Scientist ditches rat race to become solo inhabitant of private island

Scientist, 27, ditches the rat race to become solo castaway as warden of 86-acre private Welsh island where inventor Marconi sent the first ever radio signal across water

  • Mat Brown, 27, is to become the warden and sole inhabitant of Flat Holm island 
  • Island comes with a Victorian pub The Gull and Leek – making him the landlord
  • New job will see him monitor wildlife, welcome tourists and repair buildings

A scientist is upping sticks and giving up the rat race – as the sole inhabitant of a private island.

Mat Brown, 27, will leave behind modern life for his dream job as warden of the 86-acre Flat Holm island which stands five miles out to sea in the Bristol Chanel.

But the land also comes complete with Victorian pub The Gull and Leek – which means Mat will be a pub landlord.

Mat Brown, 27, will leave behind modern life for his dream job as warden of the 86-acre Flat Holm island which stands five miles out to sea in the Bristol Chanel

Mat, originally of Sheffield, will have some company on the island as an old farmhouse serves as a residential centre for up to 24 people

His dream job will see him monitor wildlife, welcome tourists and repair buildings left empty all winter.

He said: ‘To be able to come out on a remote island and to escape all of the rush and chaos of modern society, it’s a dream true isn’t it.

‘I’ll be happy if I can leave the island better than when I found it.’

The island sits below Cardiff and is the most southerly point of Wales and is where Guglielmo Marconi sent the first ever radio signal across water.

Tourists regularly flock to the island which has been home to monks, Vikings, Victorians and World War II soldiers.

The Island comes complete with its own Victorian era pub which Mat will become landlord of

Among other jobs Mat will be tasked with keeping track of the local wildlife and tending to buildings

The pub is housed in a converted Victorian cottage – with a flock of 70 sheep as its regulars.

But Flat Holm is also home to a 100ft tall Grade II-listed lighthouse, two helipads and gun batteries.

Mat will also look after the museum dedicated to Italian inventor Marconi – who transmitted the first wireless signal over sea from the island in 1897.

The environmental scientist already has some experience on the island after volunteering over six months in winter.

Mat 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 because of the resources all around you with no distractions.

Tourists regularly flock to the island which has been home to monks, Vikings, Victorians and World War II soldiers

‘I am also passionate about sharing the cultural heritage and natural history of the island with visitors.’

Mat, originally of Sheffield, will have some company on the island as an old farmhouse serves as a residential centre for up to 24 people.

His most immediate task is to get the island ready for visitors.

Natalie Taylor, team leader at 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.’ 

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